Ukraine’s official Instagram shares a photo of Horseshoe Falls lit up in its colors

A photo of Horseshoe Falls illuminated in the Ukrainian colors of blue and yellow was posted on Instagram by the official account of Ukraine.

“They know we’re on their side,” Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said during the mayor’s announcements portion of Tuesday night’s council meeting, where he showed the photo posted last week by to its more than 814,000 followers with the hashtag #standwithukraine.

“The country itself shared it and it went viral – lots of comments. It’s pretty good that we know we’ve reached the Ukrainians, and they feel the support they’re getting from Niagara Falls.

The city has thrown its support behind Ukraine as the Eastern European country continues to fight an aggressive Russian invasion.

In addition to the falls being illuminated in Ukrainian colors in late February, the country’s flag flew in front of City Hall and was also displayed in City Council Chambers, next to the Canadian flag and behind the Mayor.

At the previous council meeting on March 1, Diodati showed photos of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife, Olena, during a family visit to Niagara Falls in 2019.

“We had a very nice visit,” Diodati said.

“Who knew the kind of role he would play today.”

In the meantime, council has received a letter from a community organization requesting that property tax incentives be offered to hotels that help resettle Ukrainian refugees.

“Since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, millions of Ukrainians have had to flee their homes and their country to avoid perishing in Russia’s war of choice,” wrote Josh Bieuz- Yasyszczuk, founder and volunteer community director of NiagaraGives.

“From the beginning, the City of Niagara Falls has provided incredible support to the Ukrainian Canadian community and the entire Ukrainian diaspora around the world. With an already strong Ukrainian community, Niagara is sure to become home to many Ukrainians looking for a life away from war. These refugees will need our help to resettle and rebuild their uprooted lives.

NiagaraGives, which describes itself on social media as a collective of local Niagara businesses, charities, nonprofits and individuals working together to help bring the spirit of the global GivingTuesday movement back to Niagara, is asking hotels to provide a set number of rooms in Niagara Falls to serve as temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees resettling in the community.

“If these hotels chose to do so, they would voluntarily suffer financial loss, losing revenue generated from each room,” Bieuz-Yasyszczuk said.

“For this reason, I believe the City of Niagara Falls should reward companies that make this financial sacrifice. Mayor Diodati, I respectfully request that the City of Niagara Falls provide a one-time municipal property tax credit for all Niagara hotels that choose to provide rooms as temporary accommodations to Ukrainian refugees entering our community.

Council referred the matter to staff.

Jack C. Nugent