By John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter: The Ukrainian Ambassador has passed on his thanks to the people of Bath and North East Somerset, as generators arrive in Ukraine.
Bath and North East Somerset has sent 14 generators to the city of Oleksandriya, with the most recent arriving at the city’s general hospital on Thursday March 16.
Speaking to a full session of Bath and North East Somerset Council on March 16 where the council voted on setting up a friendship agreement with Oleksandriya, council leader Kevin Guy said he had been meeting with the Ukrainian Ambassador that day.
Mr Guy said: “He asked me personally to pass on his thanks and the thanks of his entire country to the whole council and to the people of Bath and North East Somerset for what we are about to do this evening.”
“Since the summer last year, I have been having regular meetings with the Mayor of Oleksandriya to discuss how Bath and North East Somerset can help the region of Oleksandriya.
“And our meeting in December, we had to delay it by 24 hours because the Russians had shelled the city and destroyed the local electrical supply and when I got in contact with him the next day, with his team, he said he had received 600 refugees that day. And the city of Oleksandriya in total has received over 30,000 refugees.”
“This is a city that is the same size as Bath.”
Mr Guy said that he had been told by the Mayor that the best thing to to do help the city was send generators (pictured). Mr Guy said: “If you just want to picture this, the children’s hospital was suffering intermittent power shortages. During deliveries of babies, the incubator ward was going out of power.”
A generator sent by Bath and North Somerset has now been installed in the children’s hospital. Mr Guy added: “You as a council and the people of Bath and North East Somerset have been able to provide that warmth and care and I cannot thank you enough for that really generous act.”
He added: “I am very, very proud of the people of Bath and North East Somerset.”
The council’s close relationship with Oleksandriya, which the council voted unanimously to go about formalising with a proper “friendship agreement,” is believed to put the council at the forefront of sending direct aid to a city in Ukraine.
Seconding the motion for the friendship agreement, Radstock councillor Chris Dando said: “Those of us who were lucky enough to attend the concert last month in the Abbey got a small taste of a year in the life of Ukraine. There rightly wasn’t a dry eye in that house though most of that amazing and moving performance.
“And those like me who have made friends in Ukraine over that last year can give further insight into the effects that this has had on ordinary people just trying to live their daily lives in a warzone.
“This council and community of Bath and North East Somerset can be immensely proud of the work that we have done so far to support Ukraine, both through hosting refugees’ families — we have over 400 refugees in Bath and North East Somerset — and, as the leader has said, in the project to deliver valuable generators to the community of Oleksandriya.”
Keynsham South councillor Lisa O’Brien ran her own fundraiser last year to send generators to Ukraine, raising £9,000 which saw nine generators sent to Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Dnipro.
She said that people in Ukraine had also asked her to pass on their thanks to Bath and North East Somerset for donating the money for the generators. She said: “I certainly won’t be forgetting them because I think their bravery is an example to the world. So I absolutely support this.”
Mr Dando added: “I am immensely honoured to second this proposal and be involved in this project. Slava Ukraini!”
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