"The people of Bonn have shown great solidarity since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine. Therefore, I am optimistic that we have a sound basis for this solidarity partnership with Kherson, in which we will closely involve our citizens," explained Bonn's Mayor Katja Dörner. "Since Kherson is a frontline city, this cooperation will certainly present us with special challenges, but this must not lead to a lack of support," she pointed out.
Existing contacts from Bonn to Kherson
Good contacts have already been established between Bonn and Kherson. For example, in August 2022 the district administrator of the Kherson region and the president of the regional assembly of Kherson oblast visited Mayor Dörner in the city hall at the invitation of the initiative "Solidarity Bonn Ukraine" (SoliBU). Relief transports for Kherson have jointly been organized by Ukrainians living in Bonn and refugees from Ukraine.
In a letter shortly before Christmas, which was forwarded to the city via the Ukrainian Consulate General in North Rhine-Westphalia in mid-January, the city of Kherson approached the mayor of Bonn with a request for support and the wish to establish sister-city relations. The solidarity partnership will make it possible, for example, to apply for funding for municipal reconstruction programs and also to continue to support the work of the many people, organizations and institutions that provide aid to Ukraine in Bonn.
The Council has instructed the Mayor to establish the solidarity partnership. Details will be laid down in a cooperation agreement (Letter of Intent). The citizens of Bonn will also be involved in initiating and shaping this solidarity partnership. For this purpose, the administration will invite to a roundtable.
The City of Kherson
The southern Ukrainian city of Kherson with its approximately 290,000 inhabitants (as of 2021) was subjected to heavy fighting right at the beginning of Russia's war of aggression and captured by the Russian military in March 2022. Thousands of people have subsequently fled Kherson. In September 2022, the Ukrainian military launched a counteroffensive - and succeeded in freeing the city from Russian occupation. The Russian attack led to severe destruction of infrastructure such as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, energy supply, among others. Kherson is currently under military administration.