Nazari Malenovsky is a young artist who usually sings in Ukrainian. But this evening, in front of passers-by crossing a square in downtown Lviv, he wants to clear his mind because, every day, he thinks about the war. This has spared his city so far, but what is happening in the east of his homeland makes him fatalistic.
” What can I do if bombs fall in front of my house? We must continue to live, to show Russia that nothing prevents us from living normally anyway. »
Located 70 kilometers from the Polish border and more than 400 kilometers west of kyiv, Lviv welcomed thousands of refugees at the start of the Russian invasion.
For the past few weeks, the city of more than 700,000 inhabitants, which is a magnet for artists and young people, has started to bubble again as if nothing had happened. The restaurants are almost full of customers and everyone goes about their daily business. Trams and buses bring their streams of employees to their respective stores and offices.
We would almost forget that this country is suffering the ravages of war a few hundred kilometers from here.
In the evening, the contrast with the besieged cities of Donbass is even more glaring. The streets are teeming with young Lvivians having a drink while talking about their day.
Sitting on the windowsill on the second floor of a bar, Anna Syvokhip, in her twenties, observes these young revelers with amused and satisfied eyes. She, who left her Russian-speaking family three years ago in Mariupol, says she is proud to have chosen Lviv to live there. She moved here to study fashion design. Not for a second does she regret having left her family who chose to help the Russians win the war.
They think everything is better in Russiashe regrets.
They are poisoned by Moscow propaganda. They say everything is bad in Ukraine and America, but in Russia everything is great.
She is saddened by what is happening in the east of the country, in the Donbass, especially in her former city, Mariupol, which was devastated by the Russian strikes.
I don’t know what to say, cause it’s too hard to think aboutshe drops.
The Russian invasion has in any case convinced her of one thing: her attachment to Lviv and to this country which she wanted to leave not so long ago to go and live in Norway.
I dreamed of going to this country, but now I want to live in Lviv and build a family there.
In this city with Austro-Hungarian architecture, which appears as an oasis of relative calm in a country torn by war, it is not only Ukrainians who take the opportunity to recharge their batteries. In particular, there are foreigners who have left their homes to lend a hand to the Ukrainians.
This is the case of Lena, a 26-year-old Swede from Gothenburg, who arrived in Ukraine on the second day of the Russian invasion.
Strolling through the streets of Lviv, dressed in military camouflage, this truck driver and nurse could not sit idly by.
I couldn’t stay still at home, knowing that some were suffering from the war here. I had to help themshe shouts.
Accompanied by her British colleague, Michael, 30, to give first aid to the wounded near the front, Lena says she is ready to stay until the end of the conflict, even if what she saw in Kharkiv, Boutcha and Irpin horrified her.
It’s worse than what the media shows you, it breaks your heart.
For a few days, she has been in Lviv to catch her breath.
” In the evening, I show my smile, because I love seeing all these young people in the streets. I love this city. And maybe even after the conflict, I will rent an apartment there. »
In this apparent carelessness, Lvivians like Nazari Malenovsky do not forget those who suffer from daily Russian assaults.
Everyone is worried, of course, he agrees. But
Lviv is a place of peace, and it is very good like that, because it allows us to forget the war a little.