Ukraine-Russia crisis: Why is Edinburgh twinned with Ukraine capital city Kyiv?
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The cities signed an agreement in 1989, making Kyiv Edinburgh’s eighth twin city.
It was before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Mikhail Gorbachev was carrying out major reforms.
Edinburgh’s then council leader Mark Lazarowicz and fellow Labour councillor Lesley Hinds, who was in charge of twinning links at the time, went to the USSR to discuss the proposed partnership.
The Capital had already established twinnings with Munich, Nice, Florence, Dunedin, Vancouver, San Diego and the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an.
Ms Hinds recalls: "There was a recognition we didn’t have any twin cities in that part of the world. It was before the Wall came down and the Soviet Union was split up.
"We went to Moscow – it was January and it was freezing cold I remember. Then we went down to Kiev and met the mayor and then there was a signing.
"It was because Kiev was a capital the same as Edinburgh and there were a lot of similarities between the two cities.”
Edinburgh and Kyiv are both important historic and cultural centres. Both have World Heritage Sites and are popular destinations for tourists.
The twinning led to exchange visits, school links and business opportunities.
And some young people who had been affected by the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, which is near Kiev, were brought over for holidays in Scotland.
Ms Hinds said: "We wanted a twin city in the Soviet Union to cross over that border and make those connections of friendship and support and working together.”
It was also important to Edinburgh’s Ukrainian community. Many Ukrainians came to Scotland after the Second World War and Edinburgh has the country’s largest Ukrainian community. And there has been a Ukrainian community centre in the Capital since 1964, bringing people together to enjoy Ukrainian festivals, Independence day and Ukrainian music, dance and poetry.
Ukrainians have also erected two memorials at Calton Hill – a plaque commemorating Volodymyr the Great, an early king who brought Christianity to Ukraine, and a memorial stone marking the Holodomor, the Soviet famine in 1932-33 that claimed millions of lives in Ukraine.
Lord Provost Frank Ross joined the city’s Ukrainian community to mark the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence in August.
He wrote on Thursday to the Mayor of Kyiv, pledging Edinburgh’s support and solidarity.