FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – While some cities like Tallahassee, Florida have severed ties with its Russian sister city, Framingham's mayor stopped just short of that.
But as the war in Ukraine enters its 27th day, the city is revisiting its relationship with Russia and its sister city in Lomonosov after City Councilor John Stefanini raised concerns.
"It seemed impossible for us not to do something," he explained.
He urged Mayor Charlie Sisitsky to write a letter to the Lomonosov city government. In it, he called the violence in Ukraine "horrifying."
He wrote, "the hostile military actions commanded by Russian President Vladimir Putin are horrifying to me and fellow Framingham citizens, even though we are living safely many thousands of miles away from the battle scenes in Ukraine... I wish good health for the people of Lomonosov and hope that you, too, share our condemnation of the barbaric military actions launched against the Ukrainian people."
"We've had a good, productive exchange with them that lasted for more than decade," Councilor Stefanini told WBZ-TV. "It's inactive at the moment."
The exchange program connected Russians with medical care and supplies here in Massachusetts. In return, Stefanini said Framingham residents traveled abroad for the cultural experience.
"We had numerous exchanges of people from here to there. From law enforcement, from business, from education and healthcare and they came over here," he said.
While the city cherishes the decades-old relationship, the bloodshed in Ukraine, they said, cannot be ignored.
"Whether we sever our relationship or not is just symbolic," Stefanini added. "What's important is the communication of a clear message that Putin's barbaric actions upon Ukraine is just unacceptable."
for more features.