The alarm for a possible air attack rang this Monday for the second night in a row in Lviv. The siren started at 2:30 and ended at 7:45. However, five hours later, the city center looked like Santa Fe and Callao in their good days: full of people walking, enjoying the sun and the 7 degreesqueues at kebab stalls, cafes with no empty seats, kids playing on the ice rink, open shops and traffic from hell.
19 days after the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, Lviv is experiencing a kind of schizophrenia: for the first time the explosions were felt nearby, which on Sunday left 35 dead in Yavoriv, just 25 kilometers away, but at the same time the The pulse of the city seems to have adapted to the moment, as if the need to lead a more or less normal life finally prevailed.
Thus, at the same time that a new center for the international press is inaugurated, and the municipal and provincial authorities give conferences with simultaneous translation on the disaster that the country is experiencing for no less than 150 journalists from all over the worldtwo golf carts offer hour-long city tours for four dollars.
The ice skating rink in the center of Lviv this Monday. In the city that the alarm sirens sound continues during the day with its usual rhythm. Photo: Marcelo Ferreiro
While in a cultural center in a peripheral neighborhood they offer courses for civilians to learn how to shoot with Kalashnikovs, two boys pass by with skis in their hands. And while small puppies (Chihuahuas, Schnauzers, German Spitz, etc. -no one has a dog weighing more than two kilos-) swarming with coquettish ad hoc coats, a man approaches the reporter in the supermarket, shows a wound on his shoulder , says he comes from kyiv, where his house was bombed, and asks for money to buy milk.
The two faces, life and deathFinally, they appear all the time. On Monday morning, Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, after visiting the wounded in Sunday’s attack at a military hospital, reported that “Lviv is ready to increase its military capacity. We have 5,000 registered immigrants. We practically formed two brigades. In addition to others with resident volunteers from Lviv who patrol, monitor the city and take care of security. The crime rate has been reduced to zero.” And he passed a clear message: “We expect the enemy to pay for all the damage”.
There are also the anti-Russian posters, the daily funerals for fallen soldiers at the front, those who continue to arm Molotovs just in case, the statues and churches protected against explosions. But the controls, at least in the center, are not noticeable.
An example. 13 days ago, when this team of Clarion wanted to take some pictures of the municipal building, several soldiers absolutely prevented it. That same day, while walking through the city, we were stopped three times. One of them, three soldiers who later called the police, who not only checked credentials and passports but also what photos we had taken with the cell phones. Today, the front of the municipal building looks like Caminito, with hundreds of people freely taking photos.
One more difference: you hardly see people walking the streets with big suitcases anymore. The humanitarian disaster caused by the two million refugees, a good part of whom crossed through this city, seems to have moderated. It’s true: donations keep pouring in, aid centers are still full, and the train station is still overwhelmed. But everything except.
Now it’s 8:00 p.m. It’s two hours before curfew. The air raid alarm sounds again and the street is still full of people. To be continue.
Lviv, Ukraine (Special Envoy)