CLEVELAND — Cleveland-area officials said Thursday that Ukraine citizens fleeing the country would be welcome to the area with “open arms.”

What You Need To Know

  • Cleveland leaders said those displaced by the conflict in Ukraine are welcome

  • The Cleveland area is already home to more than 15,000 residents with Ukraine ancestry

  • The United Nations is preparing for the displacement of Ukraine citizens

The letter was signed by Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Global Cleveland President Joe Cimperman. The three local leaders said the Cleveland area is a hospitable locale for those fleeing Ukraine. 

“We strongly condemn this attack that will result in the loss of innocent lives and is a direct threat to the freedom of so many,” Bibb, Budish and Cimperman said in a joint statement. “As thousands of individuals are displaced from their homes and livelihoods in the face of war and violence, we want to remind the world that the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio are here to embrace them with open arms. 

“We are no stranger to welcoming the newcomer– refugee, asylum-seeker, or immigrant fleeing persecution and war – and we are ready to do so again. Cleveland is home to a beautiful, vibrant community made up of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, and we will continue to be a safe, unifying place for those seeking peace and prosperity. In the face of this threat to freedom, we stand shoulder to shoulder with those throughout the world who are advocating for peace and human rights.”

According to the U.S. Census, there were 2,157 residents with Ukrainian ancestry in the city of Cleveland and 15,253 Cuyahoga County residents with Ukrainian ancestry.

U.N. officials said it is preparing for nations neighboring Ukraine to welcome those displaced by the conflict.