Ukrainian mayor hangs Banbury council flag in office as show of appreciation to town
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Following Mr Vadym Boichenko's visit to the town hall in July, the mayor of the war-torn city wanted to show his appreciation for the people of Banbury, who have welcomed refugees and sent aid.
During the mayor’s visit, he met with civic dignitaries, councillors, and members of the town’s Ukrainian community and was presented with the Banbury flag by the leader of the town council, Kieron Mallon.
During his visit to Banbury, through an interpreter, Mr Boichenko thanked Banbury for its help and said: “I expect to return home by the end of the year.”
Cllr Mallon said: "We have been flying the Ukrainian flag above our town hall as a show of support during these dark days. I hope you can do us the honour of flying the Banbury flag over Mariupol when you return home."
Mr Boichenko, who has been mayor since 2015 and is currently based 200 miles from his home city after being banished by occupying Russian forces, now hangs the Banbury Town Council flag alongside Mariupol’s in his office.
Cllr Mallon said: "I understand that he cannot fly the flag in his home city and not in public in his place of exile.
"He has to tread carefully, but he has done the best he can, and I am pleased to see the Banbury and Mariupol flags side by side in his office."
The historic southern Ukrainian city has been occupied since May last year and has seen heavy fighting, with reports of more than 22,000 civilians being killed.
In 2022, the town council pledged to welcome and provide support to those escaping the conflict in Ukraine by helping them to lawfully resettle in Banbury.
Since the invasion began in February 2022, more than 100 fleeing Ukrainians have legally found homes in Banbury.
The Help for Ukraine charity, based out of the former Debenhams building, has also been described as the biggest of its kind in the UK, sending thousands of tonnes of humanitarian aid to a number of sites in Poland and Ukraine.