Kent city leaders are in the process of setting up a sister city relationship with Lutsk, Ukraine.
Kent Mayor Dana Ralph has been in conversation with Honorary Consulate Gen. Valeriy Goloborodko about establishing a sister city in the Ukraine since late last year, according to Patti Belle, city of Kent communications manager.
That was a few months prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
“Kent has a large Ukrainian population,” Belle said. “We have heard interest from the community about re-establishing a sister city with a city in Ukraine. Lutsk is also interested in establishing a relationship. One of the keys to the program is having a committee in both countries willing to do the work to build the relationship/program. That currently exists with both Kent residents and residents in Lutsk.”
Lutsk is a city on the Styr River in northwestern Ukraine. Kent previously had a sister city in Kherson, Ukraine before that disolved. Kherson Park in downtown Kent is named after the city.
Ralph and City Council President Bill Boyce met June 2 at Council Chambers in Kent with Lutsk City Mayor Ihor Polishchuk (via Zoom) and Lutsk Councilmember Roman Kravchuk (in person) to sign a memorandum of agreement declaring an intent to explore the establishment of a sister city relationship. Kravchuk was in the Kent area on a business trip and met with Kent’s city leaders.
“It feels like the right thing to do to show support for Ukranian friends and neighbors, especially during this time, and to honor a community that has had a long rich history here in Kent,” Ralph said at the June 7 City Council meeting. “Going back about three decades, Ukrainians were one of our first immigrant populations and are one of our largest immigrant populations to this day.”
Ralph said Polishchuk had planned to travel to Kent but those plans changed after the Russian invasion.
Kent’s Sister Cities program provides opportunities to establish meaningful and lasting global friendships, partnerships and connections, according to the city website. Youth exchanges and other events deepen our community’s connection to the diverse populations living in our city and our connections around the world.
Kent has sister cities in Tamba, Japan; Sunnfjord Area, Norway; and Yangzhou, China.
The Sister City relationship is intended to:
• Increase citizens’ awareness and understanding of each other’s culture
• Encourage educational opportunities and the exchange of technical methodology
• Contribute to the development of trade and tourism
• Share information regarding best practices in the provision of city services, public safety, economic development, utilities, environmental preservation, technology and public relations
The parties involved will take into account friendly relations between Ukraine and the United States and in consideration of the significant Ukrainian population that resides and does business in Kent.