The sixth German-Ukrainian Municipal Partnership Conference marked yet another milestone in the collaboration between German and Ukrainian municipalities. Even before Russia launched its war of aggression, over 70 city-to-city partnerships were working together on topics related to urban development. The aim was to help Ukrainian cities and districts with the process of decentralisation which was taking place, but also to spark fresh thinking to speed up digitalisation in Germany, and also support Ukrainian partners as they dealt with the consequences of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The Russian invasion of the whole country in February 2022 initially shifted priorities, and a wave of support from German municipalities for their Ukrainian partners unleashed enormous energy. Mayors were in touch almost every day, municipalities and local people raised donations and organised aid consignments, and German cities set about ensuring they were well prepared to take in refugees. The network of German-Ukrainian cities swelled enormously during this period, as over 100 more German municipalities acted swiftly to set up solidarity partnerships with municipalities in Ukraine.