Mayor of Hereford, Cllr Paul Stevens, recently wrote a letter to the Mayor of Jaworzno, a Polish City with which Hereford shares a special friendship. He describes the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and expresses support for Poland’s aid response for Ukrainian refugees. He writes:
“Dear President Miasta, Pawel
I am writing to express the unanimous support of the City Council of Hereford to you and your communities, following the tragic and devastating events of the Ukrainian crisis which has unfolded in recent days, and our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine.
The invasion of Ukraine is an assault not only on that country and its people but the democracy and freedom of all nations. Like many people, I thought Europe had moved on from the dark days when territorial disputes were solved by invasion and war. Despite the ever-increasing pressure from Russia and its ally Belarus, the Ukrainian people have remained resolute, and the people of Poland have been their strong supporters throughout.
We see nightly, on our television screens, the evidence of how the Polish people are standing with their Ukrainian brothers and sisters, and the warmth of the welcome is very moving. I don’t know, perhaps no-one knows, how this tragic situation will be resolved. One thing is clear, the people of Poland have shown themselves to be staunch supporters of liberty and democracy, and reliable and true friends to their neighbours in need. I have no doubt the citizens of Jaworzno will be playing their part in welcoming the refugees, who sadly have to leave their menfolk to fight while the elderly, women and children flee to safety.
You have our admiration, respect and good wishes for all you are doing to help in this tragic situation, and we join you in praying and hoping for a just settlement, which preserves Ukraine’s independence and democracy, and strengthens the peace and unity of all European people against aggression.
With very best wishes,
Councillor Paul Stevens, The Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Hereford”
Mayor of Jaworzno, Pawel Silbert replied, expressing thanks for Hereford’s support and how Jaworzno is helping those in need. He writes:
“Dear Mr Mayor,
I would like to thank you for your warm words of support and understanding. What we witness, is an unprecedented act of aggression and violation of international law which has not been seen in our part of the world since the Second World War. Since the conflict rages next to our country border – on the territory of the neighbouring independent country – we are seriously concerned about what develops in the near future. We strongly support the people of Ukraine, as they fight not only in defence of the integrity of their country. But also to protect other European democracies against the authoritarian and neo-imperialist policy of Russia, which is bringing the entire continent to the brink of war.
Poland has already accommodated more than 1 million war refugees from Ukraine. We do our best to help them and prevent humanitarian catastrophe (although war itself is a humanitarian catastrophe). Most of the refugees are women, children, and elderly, as the menfolk stay in Ukraine to resist the enemy.
Just like other Polish cities and towns, we welcome Ukrainian refugees in Jaworzno. They find in Jaworzno accommodation provided by the municipality, parishes, local companies, and ordinary people. There’s overwhelming spirit of solidarity and willingness to help among the people of Jaworzno. As a City Hall we coordinate forms of support (accommodation, food supply, collection of goods, assistance of volunteers). We have introduced free healthcare for all refugees and psychological care, particularly for traumatised children.
We have also opened a multi-currency account for donations. The collected funds will only be used to purchase necessary goods and items to support Ukrainian refugees. I would be most grateful if you’d let the people of Hereford know about such a chance to support refugees in Jaworzno.
Thank you once again, hoping to meet you personally in better times and under better circumstances.
Wish you all the best,
Prezydent Miasta, Pawel Silbert”