Ukraine: In the provisional capital Lviv, bombs are approaching

Lviv (Ukraine) – The The war waged by Russia Against Ukraine He insists Two million and more than 800 thousand people Moving away from threatened areas, changing the geography and features of the entire city. It happened to the bombers by the Russian army, but it also happened to those who were filled with fugitives. How Lviv (Or Lviv), in the western part of the country, doubles the population of a semi-unknown pearl of European tourism, which has become a center for displaced people on the continent since the Second World War.

We arrive at Lviv Central StationAbout 60 kilometers from Poland, more than nine hours after the Romanian Carpathians began their journey to Sigetu Marmasii, they continued overnight in the Ukrainian territory between the frozen valleys and the plains, in a car where only we were, Factotom Wagoner (a generic image inherited from the USSR), his wife who took care of the cleaning, and an elderly woman who watched cartoons on his cell phone. It goes without saying that most of the flow of passengers on the other side, in Central and Western Europe, went to feel safe from the bombs. We didn’t sleep for a moment, especially thinking about what we would get when we arrived.

The train that was supposed to arrive a little after two in the morning was an hour and a half late. At night Lviv is under strict Curfew Until seven, only women, children and the elderly can stop in the station’s waiting room – on a human carpet that almost prevents walking – and outside, in the limbo of the square where we are forced to wait before calling a taxi or before walking. Towards the hotel, it’s minus nine degrees. But we are not alone Thousands of people lined up Dozens of families are sleeping in open space on hundreds of meters of rows, trolleys, plastic sheets and quilt islands to use one of the few public toilets available, to jump on the first train available in Poland.

I’m starting over Ukrainians from the eastern Donbass region and the capital KyivOrthodox who speak Russian, with an isolated influence in this Catholic city, with a taste close to Polish and Lithuanian, a crossroads of the culture of the old Soviet Union but always intolerant of the aesthetics of real socialism. There are two types of tickets For refugees who want to escape violence: Eviction is free for trains for those without money or documents, and for regular services. Even after waiting 24 hours standing the former is obtained; The latter is not available until the end of March. Men of military age It is useless for them to try, they are forced to stay and give up by martial law, but someone comes with a medical certificate of incompetence for military service.

The scene is a Circle of teeth But there is no panic: the police keep an eye on us and as soon as we take out the camera they ask for our passports, proving that we are indeed journalists and above all a verbal certificate of support for Ukraine; We obey. The local agency has set up several tents where hot tea and coffee are distributed, a group of soldiers making meat soup in a pot and distributing it among pedestrians, filled with clouds of air vapor and the smell of wood. On the sidewalk dSeveral temporary bonfires, Metallic bin became a point of refreshment for people of all social classes: those who have long dark circles who have lost everything, with unsettled relatives around, from those with wheelchairs or crutches – many – who leave their cats in backpacks with portholes and wireless headphones. Many kids, among the incredible and funny, document their epics on Instagram or Tikto.

Casablanca in the East

Millions of refugees pass through Lviv, a long and arduous journey due to the inaccessibility of many highways and lack of accommodation. City There is a strange, surreal environment, The station is an endless swarm but the historic center is still alive, with souvenir shops slowly reopening after two weeks of paralysis, confused families trying to reorganize and seek support abroad, institutional buildings protected by sandbags – next, when they appear in basement windows. From, become a soft seat for those waiting for the tram – and a few tens of meters from the hipster burger shop packed for lunch. Lots of vague statistics, traffickers, profiteers and even spies, we’re sure, like the movie. Casablanca (1942) previously set.

At the Gran Caf in the main courtyard, after crossing very strict controls at the entrance, there is a swarm of journalists from all over the world, local intermediaries who present themselves and even face concerns from potential Foreign fighters. The result of this fuss is that hotels are all sold out and house prices skyrocket, even 35 euros a day for a bed to share with strangers. Off-site students are open to familiar families in telegram groups, who have an ad on Airbnb, they collect money from bogus bookings who want to send money this way, arranged by many other charitable groups in the homes of complete strangers.

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