SARASOTA, Fla. — A Sarasota commissioner is pushing for the city to cut ties with its sister city in Russia.
Since 1994, Sarasota has been a sister city with Vladimir, Russia.
"They are pro-peace. They want friendly relationships," said Miriam Kramer, president of Sister Cities of Sarasota.
Kramer says the people of the two cities have participated in activities with each other like online chess tournaments, visiting each other's countries, art exchanges, and education activities.
Kramer says the sister cities relationship has no political or governmental affiliation and the purpose is to promote peace among the people.
"We are connecting with other peace-loving Russians. There are many Russians who object to this war," said Kramer.
But Sarasota city commissioner Hagen Brody says he is seeking the city’s approval to sever ties between the two cities.
In a letter to Kramer, Brody wrote in part:
“In my opinion, as representatives of our citizens horrified by this Russian aggression, we cannot overlook this unprovoked military invasion by continuing our association with Vladimir, Russia, as a sister city of the city of Sarasota and should immediately dissolve the relationship,” wrote Brody.
While Kramer says she is also horrified by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, she says severing ties with the Russian city is the wrong move and would only empower Putin by further isolating the Russian people.
"The people I know are anti-war and it's very hard because they are suffering from both him and the people who assume that they agree with him and they don’t," said Kramer.
The discussion to terminate ties between Sarasota and Vladimir, Russia will be discussed at the city's next commission meeting on Monday, March 7th.