Niagara leaders roundly condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Published February 24, 2022 at 3:06 pm

Late Regional Councillor Sandie Bellows, Ukrainian President Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska and Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati pose by Niagara Falls during the pair's first-ever visit in 2019.

Niagara Region political leaders are overwhelmingly condemning the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, a military action which began yesterday (Feb. 23).

To Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, there was a personal element to the war act as he met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska when they visited Niagara Falls for the first time ever in 2019.

“Like anyone’s first time here, it was thrilling and awe-inspiring for them. President Volodymyr was a great guy,” said Diodati.

“He and his wife were genuine and had a true love for Canada. It’s no wonder they felt at home here – with more than 1.3 million Ukrainians, Canada has the most Ukrainians outside of Ukraine and Russia.”

Beyond that, Diodati’s grandmother was Ukrainian. “We still participate in many Ukrainian traditions and cook Ukrainian food in our family. It is a part of our heritage as it is for so many. My heart breaks for the senseless harm their country is enduring and we stand united with Ukraine and all Ukrainian Canadians.”

“Everyone has the right to live in peace and freedom,” Diodati continued. “This is about real people and families who are having to endure needless hostility due to Russia’s invasion.”

In St. Catharines, Mayor Walter Sendzik called the act of war a violation of international law.

“This unprovoked military aggression against an independent and peaceful country is a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations,” posted Sendzik. “It’s an attack on democracy and freedom – one that will have catastrophic consequences, putting countless civilian lives at risk.”

He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin had to be held accountable for his military’s actions. “Our global leaders must respond expediently to hold Russia’s President accountable for these flagrant actions, and impose severe consequences – economically and politically. This type of use of force and potential for loss of life and suffering has no place in our world.”

Both mayors stood with the Ukrainians in their communities, as well as those world-wide.

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley called the attack on the Ukraine “unprovoked and brazen.”

 “I join members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Niagara, and indeed the world, in providing a full and unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s invasion on the sovereign Ukraine nation,” said Bradley.

“The unprovoked and brazen military attack of Ukraine, which brings with it needless death and destruction, is entirely unacceptable and will have a lasting impact on the innocent people of the independent and democratic Ukrainian nation.”

 
Bradley said he stood with leaders world-wide calling for an end to the military invasion.

“I stand with Prime Minister of Canada, and countless other leaders, in calling on Russia to immediately end all hostile actions against Ukraine and withdraw all military forces from the country,” said Bradley. “It is deeply concerning that Russia would violate Ukraine’s territory and sovereignty, and these actions must end now.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska
take a selfie of themselves at Niagara Falls during their first-ever visit
in 2019. (Both photos: Jim Diodati Facebook)

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