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The Livermore City Council will send a letter from the city to its Russian sister city, Snezhinsk, asking it to take action to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It wasn’t clear exactly what action Livermore would request be taken. The council unanimously voted Monday to leave it up to Mayor Bob Woerner, who said he would go along with a request from the Consul General of Ukraine in San Francisco.
“I think it’s going to be pretty much as requested by the Ukrainian consulate,” Woerner said.
The letter, dated March 4, asked the city to contact Snezhinsk and ask it to “take actions to oppose the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.”
It also said many municipalities in Russia oppose the invasion, and some may be able to stop conscripts from their cities to join the invasion force. It also suggests that Livermore consider severing its relationship with Snezhinsk if the city doesn’t oppose Russia’s invasion.
Breaking off the sister city relationship wasn’t specifically discussed Monday.
“My grandfather immigrated from the Ukraine in the early 20th Century, and this feels fairly personal, what’s going on in the Ukraine,” said Councilmember Trish Munroe. “I’m watching this closely. The connection from city to city I think is powerful … this is a way we can talk city to city, person to person, and perhaps make for a change. And this is what those relationships are for.”
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory sponsors the sister city relationship. A staff report for Monday’s meeting said Woerner contacted the lab, asking if it has any concerns over the city possibly severing the relationship. If the lab responded, it wasn’t mentioned Monday.
Woerner said he would draft the letter with city staff and would try sending it the next day.
“I wish we could do much more, the situation is horrific and it’s really, really saddening,” Woerner said.
Snezhinsk is one of three international communities sharing a sister city relationship with Livermore. The others include Quetzeltenango in Guatemala, and Yotsukaido, Japan.
Sister City Park, which was established next to the city’s municipal airport in 1999, features flags, benches and trees symbolizing the relationships.