Colorado Springs suspends Russian sister city

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Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 7:10 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs city leaders are taking a stance against Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.

Colorado Springs has seven sister cities around the world, including Smolensk, Russia. When asked about the status of that partnership March 3, Colorado Springs’ chief communication officer sent this statement to KKTV:

“No one from the City will participate in any visits to Smolensk, nor will we host any one from Smolensk for the foreseeable future ... We consider our sister city relationship with Smolensk indefinitely suspended.”

Jamie Fabos, Colorado Springs Chief Communication Officer

Smolensk is located in far west Russia, about a one-hour drive from the Belarus border (shown by red pin on the map below).

Smolensk is located in far west Russia, near the Belarus border.  Smolensk has been a sister...
Smolensk is located in far west Russia, near the Belarus border. Smolensk has been a sister city of Colorado Springs since the 1990's.(Google Maps)

“To curtail our sister city in Russia, it demonstrates our resolve toward the people of Ukraine right now. It also tells the people of Russia that you have a problem,” said Randy Helms, City Council member for District 2. He also explained that Colorado Springs developed that sister city connection in the 1990s, when the relationship made sense.

In Monday’s regularly scheduled work session, city leaders will discuss a resolution, or a formal statement, in support of Ukraine to be voted on during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“Cities, states, and our nation are standing up against a dictator-type of invasion to a country that is democratic, free, and bothering no one,” Helms added.

Prior to city leadership, Helms served more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, including service in Ukraine following the fall of the Soviet Union.

This move from local leaders comes as a growing number of governments, no matter how small, are cutting Russian ties. Chicago announced severing their Russian Sister City connection with Moscow last week. Switzerland, a country known for its neutrality, announced joining the European Union on imposing sanctions against Russia.

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