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Athens Mayor Agrees to Support Sustainable Rebuilding of Ukrainian Cities

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis has agreed to support the sustainable rebuilding of Ukrainian cities by joining an initiative backed by the Eurocities network.

Eurocities represents over 200 cities across Europe including Athens.

Bakoyannis signed the agreement, following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko that was held in Kiyv on August 19.

The pact was also signed by Ukraine’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities on behalf of all local and regional authorities in Ukraine.

Mayors issue joint statement

In a joint statement, the mayors from Florence, Athens, Helsinki, Lyon, Marseille, Oslo, Riga, Tirana and Kyiv said:

“We, mayors and leaders of European and Ukrainian cities, condemn the Russian war in Ukraine and call for an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces and the restoration of peace. We are committed to combining our efforts to prepare and deliver the rapid and sustainable reconstruction of Ukrainian cities destroyed by Russian attacks since 24 February.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked all parties involved for their support in rebuilding Ukraine’s cities and communities.

“It is essential that Ukraine’s reconstruction begins now, not after the war. Humanitarian measures must be ensured and provided to allow people in Ukraine to return to normal life,” he said.

On his part, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said that support and active contribution to the reconstruction of Ukraine was an obligation of the entire democratic world.

“Reconstruction is a long road but must start now. And the democratic world must be ready to join this marathon with strong will and determination. Nothing less than the future of our European continent is at stake,” he added.

Principles of the agreement

To ensure practicalities in the use of resources and expertise across borders, the mayors, represented on both sides, agreed to a set of leading principles of this collaboration to thus be:

– a shared vision of sustainable urban development, ensuring that reconstruction projects contribute to creating green, energy efficient, healthy, safe/secure, inclusive, prosperous, and liveable urban areas which provide equal opportunities for all citizens

– respect for the rule of law, ensuring accountability between partner cities and transparency in transactions, notably in relation to investments

– engagement of citizens and local stakeholders in the reconstruction process.

During his visit to Kiyv, Bakoyannis also announced the start of procedures in order for Athens and Kiev to become sister cities.

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