Ukrainian leaders visit Toledo searching for solutions, ideas

Ukrainian leaders visit Toledo searching for solutions, ideas

TOLEDO (WTOL) - International guests fearing for their country’s future visited Toledo looking for solutions.

Ukrainian leaders are struggling with what they are calling “Russian aggression.” Three parliament members met with the Glass City’s leaders to discuss ideas and collaboration.

Ukraine’s leaders say they seek leverage against Russia after surrendering their nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from other Western powers in the Budapest Memorandum over 20 years ago.

"The countries like Russia, also the United Kingdom and United States guaranteed us our security, but as we see now, it doesn’t work,” Yurii Solovei, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Economic Policy and member of Ukraine’s ruling party, Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

In November, Russian forces seized three Ukrainian naval vessels, injuring at least three soldiers. This prompted the Ukrainian President to declare martial law in parts of the country.

Now, Ukraine’s leaders are looking to Toledo for advice on creating a stable democracy and developing their resources.

"They want to develop relationships. We’re a port city, they have many ports in their country. And some of them challenged by Russia right now, a tyrannical Russia that doesn’t respect their desire to be free,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said.

Both Ukraine and Toledo rely on a strong agricultural industry. Ukrainian leaders also seek energy independence and see Toledo’s industries as a model.

Ultimately, these Ukrainian leaders say they seek peace for their country.

"Russia, we know this country very well. If Russia don’t feel any resistance from the international world, they go and go. Remember the situation in Syria, remember the situation in the Middle East, remember the situation in Turkey. And now we have situation in Ukraine,” Solovei said.

The three leaders spent four days in Toledo visiting with leaders like Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Congressman Bob Latta, County Auditor Anita Lopez and others.

The Open World Leadership Center and Great Lakes Consortium hosted the delegates. They head back to the Ukraine on Thursday.

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