On March 15, 2023, the Greenwich Rotary welcomed Olga Litvinenko to speak about the potential Sister City relationship being forged between the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Izyum, Ukraine. Olga’s speech covered her personal involvement in Ukraine, the formation of USA for Ukraine, and the future implications of the potential Sister City effort.
Litvinenko began by sharing her family’s Ukrainian roots and their experience with animal shelters in the country. This involvement led to the adoption of two puppies from Ukraine and eventually, the creation of USA for Ukraine. The organization began by focusing on helping the refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022.
As a part of their efforts, USA for Ukraine collaborated with various organizations to help refugees establish themselves in France, providing housing, jobs, documentation, and essential items. The organization also partnered with the Global Empowerment Mission to help rebuild the cities of Bucha and Boryadanka, which were devastated by the invasion.
Olga explained the importance of providing medical aid, psychological training, and proper documentation for animals affected by the conflict. She mentioned that the organization currently has access to over 10,000 dogs in Ukraine and is working on transporting them to the United States and France.
Discussing her recent visit to Lyman, Ukraine, Litvinenko was inspired by the Sister City relationship between Westport, Connecticut, and Lyman. The town of Westport sponsored two new trash trucks and police officer cars for Lyman, helping to clean up the city and begin the process of rebuilding.
With this inspiration, Olga proposed the idea of a Sister City relationship between Greenwich and Izyum, Ukraine. The town of Greenwich has tentatively agreed with a potential date for the official announcement on April 17th, 2023, at the Town Hall.
The Sister City relationship aims to create cultural exchanges, educational opportunities, and mutual support between Greenwich and Izyum. As a part of the relationship, the two towns will exchange symbolic items, such as flags and proclamations. Additionally, virtual programs for students to connect and learn from each other are in development.
The Greenwich Rotary showed support for the Sister City effort and applauded Olga Litvinenko’s dedication to helping both the people and animals of Ukraine in these trying times.