Partnering for Ukraine: Kraków community reflects on collaboration with City Mayor

April 29,2024 270
Partnering for Ukraine: Kraków community reflects on collaboration with City Mayor

The Polish city of Kraków, located in the south of the country just over 230 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, has become one of the largest points of assistance for Ukrainians following Russia’s full-scale invasion. According to the latest data, there are currently over 1 million people living in the city, with 20% of Ukrainians.

Since February 24, the Ukrainian community in Kraków, in cooperation with the local authorities, has been able to facilitate the process of providing assistance to Ukrainians, organize aid for displaced persons, and develop Ukrainian-Polish friendship. The Kraków branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Poland (AUP), which serves as an advisory body to various levels of government in the region, summed up the results of joint work with the longtime mayor of the city, Jacek Majchrowski, who is retiring after 22 years in office.

The farewell meeting took place on April 18. Andriy Oliynyk, President of the Kraków branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Poland (AUP), thanked Jacek Majchrowski for his many years of fruitful cooperation and presented him with a badge of the Ukrainian World Congress – a commemorative award made from shell casings used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“We are grateful to the mayor for his many years of activity for the benefit of the city, openness, and willingness to dialogue with residents of Ukrainian origin. Faced with the threat and war provoked by the Russian aggressor, the residents of Kraków have shown great sympathy and solidarity with Ukrainians. In turn, Ukrainians – as refugees who have massed in our city, as well as entrepreneurs seeking a safe space for the development of their business – have found in Kraków not only support but also excellent conditions for development. By working in Kraków, they contribute to the economic growth of our city and region and have the opportunity to continue helping Ukraine,” said Oliynyk.

In July 2022, the community, together with the city authorities, opened the Square of Free Ukraine in Kraków, and in November of the same year, they named one of the street intersections after Ukrainian Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachnyi.

“The start of full-scale war has strengthened friendship with Ukrainians from the Polish side. We immediately joined as a city with assistance directed to Ukraine – transportation of food, medicines, and other essentials. On the other hand, we took care of people who came to Krakow. We also took symbolic actions – raised Ukrainian flags and illuminated selected objects in the colors of Ukraine. We want to show unity with Ukraine. We are with you, we fight because you are fighting for your and our freedom,” said Jacek Majchrowski at one of the events.

The newly elected mayor of Kraków, Aleksander Miszalski, will take office on May 7. “After that, we plan to meet with the new city leader and continue our work,” emphasized Oliynyk.

Photos: Piotr Wojnarowski, Kancelaria Prezydenta Miasta Krakowa; Krakó