February 24, 2023 -- On the one-year mark since the start of Russia's war against Ukraine, Mayor Sylvester Turner released the following statement:
"With deep sadness, we mark one year since Russia invaded Ukraine, violating our most closely held beliefs on sovereignty, stability, and security. We mourn the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of millions of innocent people whose lives have been torn apart. Over the last year, Houstonians have come together to support Ukraine, donating time, money, medical supplies, and necessities for those in need. As Mayor, I thank you all for your generosity. As we have seen, we come together during times of crisis, and we have come together to support Ukraine.
"Houston is a city anchored in our international relationships at the national and city levels. We strongly believe in City Diplomacy and the critical importance of maintaining relationships and dialogue in times of crisis. In challenging times, city to city, and people to people, diplomacy can sometimes be the only opportunities for exchange. This is the purpose of Houston’s more than 90 foreign consulates, including those from Ukraine and Russia and of our 19 Sister Cities – to create and maintain opportunities for global dialogue.
"In Russia today, however, dialogue has become nearly impossible. Russia has blocked the people’s access to social media and global news outlets, cracked down on protests and any form of discontent, and criminalized public opposition to the war. It is clear that we have lost the ability to have an open dialogue. Therefore, I have decided to suspend our Sister City relationship with Tyumen and our long-standing partnership agreement with Moscow until free and open dialogue can resume.
I look forward to the day when we can again engage in productive conversations connecting our cities worldwide, and our hearts continue to go out to the Ukrainian people."