Stand with Ukraine welcomes the visit to France from 27 to 29 March of a delegation of four Ukrainian mayors, organised with the Ukrainian NGO ANTS with the aim of developing Franco-Ukrainian cooperation at local level. This visit is one of the concrete outcomes of the “Lights for Winter” campaign led by the association since last November to strengthen links between French and Ukrainian local authorities through emergency humanitarian aid.

The delegation was received on 27 March by Mr. Benjamin Haddad, president of the France-Ukraine parliamentary friendship group, who presented the work of the National Assembly in favour of Ukraine, and then by his counterparts in the Senate, Mr. Joël Guerriau and Mrs. Annick Billau, who testified to the sincere solidarity of their institution with the Ukrainian people.

These meetings were marked by emotion, particularly during the account given by the mayor of Ivanivska, Mrs. Olena Shvydka, of the arrival of Russian soldiers in her municipality, and of their sequestration of 400 inhabitants in the cellar of the school for one month.

The delegation also met Mr. Raphaël Glucksmann, member of the European Parliament, and Mr. Martin Duplantier, architect committed to the reconstruction of Ukraine. Finally, the trip allowed the mayor of Pokrovsk, Ms. Svitlana Spazheva, to visit the French town of Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne, which has been supporting the municipality of Pokrovsk during the height of the winter as part of the “Lights for Winter” campaign.

The Ukrainian mayors continued their trip on 28 March in the Saint-Brieuc Armor agglomeration, partner of the Ukrainian city of Ovroutch, where they were received by Mr. Thibaut Guignard, vice-president of the agglomeration and mayor of Plœuc-l’Hermitage. The talents of the French territories were widely honoured with a visit to the town’s agricultural research centre and to a farm and cattle farm, which inspired concrete cooperation topics for the revival of Ukrainian agriculture, which is currently heavily impacted by the war. This trip was an opportunity to discuss the administrative and political functioning of French local authorities, which is also a major topic in the post-war Ukrainian political debate.

All the speakers and participants in this visit to France agreed on the need to intensify local Franco-Ukrainian cooperation, and Stand with Ukraine is delighted with the new partnerships that these exchanges have inspired!