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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”