The mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson has reached out to the people of Odesa, a Russian-speaking port city in the south west of Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has previously warned of possible attacks on the city by Russian forces.
Liverpool first had links with Odesa in 1957, when a relationship between the two cities was instigated by MP and councillor Bessie Braddock as part of a policy of connecting with other cities in Eastern Europe following WWII, according to Liverpool City Council.
Ms Anderson said: “We have all been shocked and appalled by the scenes coming from Ukraine over the last three weeks.
“The devastation wreaked on towns and cities across the country is heart breaking to watch, and we’re especially concerned about Odesa, which has been a friend of Liverpool since the 1950s.
“Odesa has many similarities with Liverpool, including as a sea port, a city with magnificent architecture and with a shared interest as members of the UNESCO Creative Cities network.
“Our friendship links were first formed as a way of developing trust during the Cold War, and it is so sad that all of the progress that has been made over the intervening years is now at risk.
“Our thoughts are with the citizens of Odesa, and the people of Ukraine, whose lives are being devastated.
“We stand ready to offer help and support when the Government has in place its refugee scheme.”
Letter to the mayor of Odesa
Liverpool’s lord mayor, councillor Mary Rasmussen has written to the mayor of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, to inform him that the Ukrainian national flag was flying from St George’s Hall in Liverpool, in solidarity with its people.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, mayor Trukhanov, who was once a member of a pro-Russian political party, but is now armed and ready to fight against Russia, said: “I can tell you something about Odesa. We will fight until the end to protect every street and corner of the city.”
Support people fleeing the devastating conflict in Ukraine: donate to the DEC appeal
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Learn more and donate what you can today