Ukraine war: Edinburgh should reach out to twin city Kiev on seventh anniversary of Russian invasion – Steve Cardownie

When I was on holiday in Kiev a few years ago, I was invited to meet the mayor, Vitali Klitschko, who took the opportunity to assure me that despite the war that was waging in the east of Ukraine, Kiev and the rest of the country were safe for tourists.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 7:00 am
A Ukrainian soldier plays the violin in a dugout on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists, not far from Gorlivka, in the Donetsk region, in December (Picture: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

I witnessed first hand that it was business as usual in Edinburgh’s twin city and did not see any additional security measures in place. However, travel to some areas of the country was strictly out of bounds.

The conflict began in February 2014 and the death toll continues to rise as the war rages on. It is estimated that over 13,000 deaths have been recorded and between 29,000 and 31,000 wounded since Russian forces, in unmarked vehicles, moved into the region to bolster Russian separatists who aspired to take east Ukraine into Russian control.

Nato has condemned the action as have several countries which have recognised Russia as the aggressor as it seeks to destabilise Ukraine and re-establish some of the control it lost with the demise of the Soviet Union.

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The war appears to be largely forgotten and has not commanded the attention from the media that it undoubtedly deserves as combatants and civilians continue to perish out of sight of television cameras, with intermittent ceasefires being broken and casualties continuing to rise.

It would of course only be a gesture, but Edinburgh’s Lord Provost might consider contacting Mayor Klitschko of our twin city, Kiev, to let him know that, on the seventh anniversary of the commencement of the war, we have not forgotten.

A message from the Editor:

Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe cross the checkpoint between the Kiev-controlled territory and occupied areas in the war-torn east of Ukraine (Picture: Evgeniya Maksymova/AFP via Getty Images)

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