Winnipeg's mayor is encouraging residents to donate towards agencies helping with humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, and has announced financial support for Winnipeg's sister city in the war-torn country.

"In an expression of support and solidarity, today, Mayor Brian Bowman announced a $10,000 contribution from his office budget will be going to Winnipeg’s Sister City of Lviv, Ukraine," a release from the Mayor's office on Thursday afternoon says. "The money will be allocated directly to the needs of people temporarily displaced in Lviv."

“Winnipeg is a city that has deep connections to Ukraine, both as a result of immigration and our Sister City relationship with Lviv, Ukraine that was established in 1973,” says Bowman. “As a result of those deep connections, the news we continue to see about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is sparking passionate, empathetic responses from Winnipeggers.”

Lviv and Winnipeg have been sister cities since 1973. The city sits in the far west of Ukraine, near the Polish border, and has remained relatively peaceful since the Russian invasion began. As a result, the city has seen thousands of refugees flock to it seeking safety.

A map shows Lviv, Ukraine's location in the far west of Ukraine, near the Polish border.Lviv is approximately 70 km east of the Polish border. (Google Maps)

The mayor's office says there are approximately 100,000 Winnipeggers who identify Ukraine as their ethnic origin, and a as a result, "there are many ties of family, friendship, history and culture."

"When the Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022, Mayor Bowman wrote to Mayor Andriy Sadovyi of Lviv to express Winnipeg’s concern for and solidarity with the people of Lviv, and all of Ukraine. Mayor Sadovyi’s office responded with gratitude and has remained in contact since that time, including correspondence regarding this contribution," the release says.

“Residents across our city have grave concern for the people of Ukraine as they make a brave stand against the forces of Russia,” Bowman says. “Many Winnipeggers have history with Ukraine that is directly connected to times of war and the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees. This brazen attack by Russia is conjuring up very difficult memories and it is for that reason that Winnipeg wants to help make a difference.”

Bowman last met virtually with Sadovyi on April 28, 2021, to discuss issues in their respective cities’ including the response to COVID-19, developing youth leadership, human rights and economic development initiatives. There were plans to welcome a delegation from Lviv in Winnipeg at some point, however, evidently those plans are now delayed.

There are a number of Christian and humanitarian organizations helping Ukrainians, and Bowman encourages Winnipeggers to give.

“I hope Winnipeggers will consider making a donation to assist with the urgent needs of Ukrainians. As Mayor, I will continue to explore all options and opportunities that we can be of assistance.”