SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota commissioners have voted unanimously to suspend the relationship with their sister city of Vladimir, Russia. It's a decision that commissioner Hagen Brody pushed for after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"It's just horrible to see what’s happening over there. This is not a war, it's an assault on innocent people, on residential areas, on residential buildings," said Brody. "Suspending our relationship with the sister city indefinitely is in line with the international community’s response to isolating Russia."
However, the Sister Cities Association of Sarasota president Miriam Kramer strongly disagrees with the decision and believes isolating the people of Russia just empowers Putin even more.
"The Russians who are part of our organization are pro-peace, they spread the message that we are not evil because that’s what Putin wants to put into the media," said Kramer.
Kramer said the sister cities relationship has no political or governmental affiliation and the purpose is to promote peace among the people.
"I hope that we can revive our ties with Vladimir after this war is over and when people can better understand what we do," said Kramer.
But Brody believes taking a united stand against Russia is the right thing to do.
"I think it's important we’re doing what we can to support the Ukrainian people. My hope is that other cities around the country will do the same and send a message to their sister cities and their residents that what is happening in Russia and Ukraine is not acceptable," said Brody.