Delegation from Bucha, Ukraine visits with city of Albany officials as war nears first anniversary
Mayor Kathy Sheehan welcomed her counterpart from Bucha, Ukraine to Albany City Hall on Monday.
Albany is partnering with Bucha to support the war-torn Ukrainian city's rebuilding effort.
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos opened the news conference in the city hall rotunda..
"If you read the papers, if you watch the news, if you follow on social media at all over the last year, you've seen the incredible devastation that Russia has caused in Ukraine, with thousands and thousands of civilians killed, and hundreds of thousans of square kilometers of land and infrastructure devastated," Seggos said. "One of the hardest hit places, if you remember, was the city of Bucha. In the beginning, when the Russians invaded from the north, and brought the war machine down towards Kyiv they occupied the city and terrorized its people for weeks and weeks."
Seggos was in Bucha last fall with a volunteer ambulance corps helping deliver humanitarian relief to the front. He met Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk, who expressed interest in coming to Albany to talk with city leaders. Fedoruk and his delegation are on a six-day visit to the U.S.
Mayor Sheehan welcomed the opportunity to meet and share ideas with Fedoruk.
"What you have experienced and Bucha none of us can fully comprehend," Sheehan said. "You have lost not only property and infrastructure in schools and institutions, but you have lost countless human lives. The war crimes committed by Russia on the good people of Bucha have entered the annals of some of the darkest atrocities of humankind. There is not a mayor in this country who has experienced what you are living. But as the mayor of the capital of the state of New York, I want to assure you that you are not alone. That is why I am signing with you a memorandum of understanding between our two cities to create a bond between us that we hope will lead to brighter days ahead for Bucha."
Fedoruk and Sheehan signed the memorandum after he addressed the gathering, speaking through an interpreter about the war and its challenges.
"And I would like to emphasize once again that this is not the war between Ukraine and Russia but the war between the civilizations which is happening right now in Ukraine, said Fedoruk. "But along with was all along with all of the challenges we are currently facing In Ukraine it is beyond important for us to establish the relationship between the municipalities from different parts of the world."
Ukrainan media reports Fedoruk participated in a meeting in Washington during which the decision to allocate $135 million previously designated for The U.S. Russia Investment Fund for Ukraine and Moldova instead was approved.