Why Local Officials Must Participate in Ukraine’s Reconstruction

“It is now beyond question: Putin’s dream of decapitating Ukraine’s central leadership and subjugating the country has turned into a nightmare for Russia. Rather than finding Ukraine’s society divided and malleable, Russia has encountered a confident citizenry animated by commitments to a free and democratic future. While many of Ukraine’s national figures have provided commendable leadership examples, local leaders and mayors have also emerged as pivotal sources of resilience and hope.

“Since Moscow’s invasion began in February 2022, cities across Ukraine have experienced significant destruction from Russia’s frequent artillery bombardments, drone attacks, and missile strikes. Ongoing fighting around Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine is a reminder of how cities remain central battlefields in the war.

“Local officials and mayors have courageously stepped up to the challenge of wartime governance, with citizens increasingly turning to them to address emergency humanitarian and security challenges. Ukrainian mayors often serve as primary lines of defense responsible for processing medical aid, engaging directly with international organizations, and repairing damaged infrastructure. …”

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