War in Ukraine: Santa Clara Co. terminates nearly 30 year 'Sister County' relationship with Russia

"They don't deserve to have relationships with other governments throughout the world."
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- After the City of San Jose decided not to cut sister-city ties in Russia earlier this month, the County of Santa Clara terminated its relationship effective immediately.

The county believes this is the best way to support the people of Russia and Ukraine.

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, the sights and sounds of war are felt throughout the world.

Locally, the Santa Clara County board of supervisors are standing up against the actions of the Russian government.

"We don't approve of the government," Santa Clara Co. Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. "We don't approve of what they're doing. We think what they're doing is not just horrific and unconscionable, but demonstrates that they don't deserve to have relationships with other governments throughout the world."

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Tuesday night, the San Jose City Council decided not to end their Sister City relationship with the Russian city Yekaterinburg.

So after maintaining a sister county relationship for nearly three decades, Santa Clara County unanimously approved to cut those ties.

The county has had this relationship with Moscow since 1994.

Supervisor Chavez believes this is the best way to support the people of Russia and Ukraine and not Vladimir Putin or the government.

"We want to support the people," Chavez said. "I personally understand and I think my board understands how important it is to have meaningful relationships with the people of both of those nations and recognize that we can't prop up somebody like Putin with a fake partnership with their government."

For those we spoke with at Russian-tied businesses in the South Bay, they want to make clear that the actions overseas do not represent who they are as Russian people living in the United States.

RELATED: SF's 'Little Russia' businesses experiencing waves of the war 6,000 miles away from Ukraine
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As the war in Ukraine continues, business owners in San Francisco's "Little Russia" neighborhood are affected by the conflict.

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South Bay resident Mikhail Arsentiev has felt discriminated against locally due to the war.

He worries cutting Russian relationships may lead to more issues for the Bay Area Russian community.

"You don't want to say where you're from, you just want to stay away from those issues," Arsentiev said. "It's really sad. It's wrong and it's very un-American for sure."

The County of Santa Clara has a hate prevention task force to address issues like this.

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Members of the Bay Area Georgian American community spent their Sunday outside a San Jose warehouse, sorting and boxing humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Chavez does not want any one from Russia or Ukraine to feel these strains from the county's choice to stand against the government.

"We're very used to being an international region and international city and it gives us some experience in working on those types of issues," Chavez said. "I think that the hate prevention task force will be playing a leadership role in addressing that."

The county will now look into establishing a relationship with a jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Santa Clara County also has sister county relationships with Florence, Italy and Hsinchu County, Taiwan, Republic of China.

Take a look at the latest updates on the Ukraine-Russia war.

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