“KS has enjoyed close cooperation with our Ukrainian sister organisation, the Association of Ukrainian Cities, for over ten years.  We have been working closely to strengthen local democracy and local authorities in the country,” says Helgesen.

On behalf of KS, Helgesen sends a greeting to their colleagues in Ukraine.

“You have our full support and deepest sympathy in this difficult situation. You are in our thoughts,” she says.

Speaking from her leading position in two major European organisations working for democracy, human rights and continental cooperation, Gunn Marit Helgesen says:

“We cannot accept this happening. As Vice President of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities – an organisation that works to promote human rights, democracy and good governance – I condemn the invasion in the strongest possible terms. We must now stand up for our colleagues in Ukraine, and urge Russia to stop its military attack. The attack is a clear breach of international law, and undermines Ukraine’s self-evident right to independence within recognised borders.”

Helgesen is also Co-President of CEMR, the umbrella organisation for European municipalities and regions. In a statement, the organisation reaffirms its full support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. CEMR will continue to support Ukrainian local and regional governments and their associations.