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Lviv mayor preparing for ‘months’ long war with Russia

Lviv mayor preparing for months long war with Russia


Ukrainian mayors have become an endangered species since the Russian invasion — with at least two being abducted and replaced with puppets of Vladimir Putin since the war began.

But that isn’t causing Lviv mayor Andriy Ivanovych Sadovyi to lose any of his four hours of nightly sleep.

“I have been a target for a long time,” Sadovyi told The Post by phone. “I don’t have any time for fear.

“Let the enemy be afraid of us.”

Since the Russian invasion began, Sadovyi, 53, spends his days buzzing between meetings with the national government, local officials, refugees, foreign diplomats, and updating the press — despite Russia’s effort to target Ukraine’s political leadership, including several assassination attempts against President Volodymyr Zelensky.

People walk into the entrance of a bomb shelter in Lviv after air raid sirens sound on March 25.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Lviv is located near the Polish border.
Lviv is located near the Polish border.

Nestled near the Polish border, Lviv — population 717,000 — is geographically better positioned than most Ukrainian cities to withstand Russian aggression, but that has not kept the invaders from breaking through. On March 18 a Russian airstrike hit an aircraft repair facility just four miles from the city center. Another missile near the city at the Yaroviv International Peacekeeping and Security Center killed 35 a few days before, officials said.

“We have upwards of 6,000 bomb shelters in the city.” Sadovyi said.

He compared the onslaught to Middle East terrorism.

A crowd of refugees from Mariupol arrive at the Lviv station.
A crowd of refugees from Mariupol arrive at the Lviv station.
Ty ONeil / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Refugees from different places of Ukraine take shelter in Lviv.
Refugees from different places of Ukraine take shelter in Lviv.
Mykola Tys/EPA

“Right now our lives [are] very reminiscent of the citizens of Israel. Yesterday we had five air raid alerts. Whenever there is a siren people seek shelter,” he said.

Sadovyi, a one-time businessman and Lviv native with five sons, said he expects the war to last months — and conflicts will simmer on for much longer.

“I think the active phase of the war will last for several months. And then some sort of agreement will be signed, but this agreement will be of temporary nature because Russia has always been, and will always be, an aggressor,” Sadovyi said, predicting an ultimately favorable outcome for his country.

Smoke rises above buildings near Lviv airport on March 18.
Smoke rises above buildings near Lviv airport on March 18.
Roman Baluk/REUTERS
Sadovyi takes part in the Unity March on Feb. 19.
Sadovyi takes part in the Unity March on Feb. 19.
Pavlo Palamarchuk/REUTERS

“Light always wins over darkness,” he said. “It’s becoming more and more obvious for all people worldwide that Russia is a Nazi state and they are committing their crimes here in real time.”

Once a sleepy cultural center in Ukraine’s far west, Lviv has been transformed, absorbed more than 200,000 refugees in just weeks Ten thousand new refugees arrive at the city railway every day.

The new arrivals have placed tremendous strain on the city’s infrastructure and the mayor said he is in desperate needs of supplies — specifically modular homes to accommodate the newcomers.

Sadovyi poses for a picture during an interview with Reuters in Lviv.
Sadovyi poses for a picture during an interview with Reuters in Lviv.
Matthias Williams/REUTERS

“Their relatives are fighting like lions on the front line and we must do the utmost to make sure their wives and children are safe here,” he said.

Sadovyi praised President Biden, but called for harsher measures against Vladimir Putin and more weapons from the West.

“I believe that President Biden is doing a great job rallying the entire world behind us. Like no one else he understands the true colors of Russia. And it’s crucial for us to remain united and move toward our shared victory,” he said.

Sadovyi attends a joint funeral for two soldiers who died during the recent fighting.
Sadovyi attends a joint funeral for two soldiers who died during the recent fighting.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

“I would ask [Biden] to impose the most severe and brutal sanctions possible,” he added. “Russia needs to be isolated from everything, all the cultural organizations, sports organizations, NGOs are basically serving as agents of the aggressor.”



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