Bucha, a city in Ukraine where civilians were massacred under Russian occupation in the early days of the invasion, is seeking to build ties with the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima in western Japan to learn from its experiences of recovery, officials from both cities said Monday.

Despite the different situations of the two cities, they have both become "symbols of war," said Alina Saraniuk, chief international officer for Bucha, adding that Hiroshima has "experience that would be very, very valuable for us."

Alina Saraniuk, chief international officer for the municipality of Bucha in Ukraine, speaks to Kyodo News on Aug. 25, 2023. (Kyodo)

An official from Hiroshima has expressed the city's willingness to cooperate, saying, "We hope to accumulate exchanges and work together for lasting peace, including through Mayors for Peace conferences."

Hiroshima, devastated by the U.S. atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, is the president city for Mayors for Peace, a nongovernmental organization comprised of over 8,000 cities in 166 countries and regions. A number of Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, are among its members.

A letter sent to Hiroshima in August under the Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk's name stressed the value of Hiroshima's experiences for Bucha as it embarks on rebuilding following the Russian occupation. Hiroshima responded in writing this month with an intent to cooperate.

While the two cities have not had any noteworthy exchanges to date, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose family is from Hiroshima, visited Bucha during his surprise trip to Ukraine in March and expressed "strong anger" over the massacre.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also visited Hiroshima for the G7 summit in May.

Saraniuk has expressed the desire for Bucha to become a "sister city" of Hiroshima in the future. The city on the outskirts of Kyiv already has several sister-city relationships, primarily in Europe, many of which were established after the Russian occupation.

Hiroshima became a sister city with Volgograd in southern Russia in 1972 but suspended exchange programs to mark the 50th anniversary of relations last year over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The western Japan city also maintains friendship ties with five other cities, including Chongqing in southwestern China. It signed a Declaration on the Exchange of Experiences and Cooperation with the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017.