David Lisnard hosted Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi in his office for a joint press conference on the cooperation between the two cities, and project Unbroken.
A Welcoming Host
March 14th marks the one year anniversary of the two cities’ twinning announcement in what was highly regarded as an innovative form of support of the Ukrainian people by the mayor of Cannes. During the 1.5 hour press conference, Mayor Lisnard went through the details of his latest February trip to Ukraine – the second since the start of the war – and explained his admiration for his counterpart’s achievement as mayor of Ukraine’s Western capital: “One year has passed since this brutal war has started, and your capacity for resistance is still incredible,” he told Mayor Sadovyi in French.
Lisnard concluded his opening remarks with an introduction of Mayor Sadovyi, and a brief appeal to the audience, the journalists, and their cameras in his spacious yet crowded office: “RealPolitik aside, aiding Ukraine is in the global interest… and it is in your interest.”
Sadovyi wore a black quarter zip, no suit no tie, thus abiding by the new standard that’s been set by his chief Zelensky. After a brief pause for photos and a handshake with Lisnard, Sadovyi spoke to the crowd through a translator. “David is a courageous person. He came in the first days of the war. He met the moment and supported us. He supported us not only in the name of Cannes, but all of France.”
Unbroken: Treatment. Prosthesis. Rehabilitation for Ukrainians in Ukraine
“I am not a doctor. I am a mayor. But since the war, every day I have to think about surgery. About psychological, physical, [sic] social rehabilitation. About new accommodation. About new job. About future. One part [of] my head think[s] about current situation. Next part [of] my head think about future. Everyone hurt from this war has the right to become whole again, [sic]” Sadovyi said in English describing his daily routine.
Sadovyi then introduced Unbroken, a program that evoques the resilient spirit of the Ukrainian people who may have lost homes, loved ones, and limbs, yet they are still stubbornly alive and resistant. The program, a hospital network, and a rehabilitation center, operates out of Lviv city hospital, where, since the start of the war, 70,000 civilians and 17,000 servicemen have been treated. The hospital has also started a prosthetics lab for the creation of artificial limbs for the ever increasing number of war amputees.
In order to raise funds, the program champions the stories of certain youth who have lost limbs either by bombing and shelling raids, or by directly placing themselves in the line of fire as volunteers.
One such story brought about a strong emotion from the room when Andriy showed it in video. The short film follows the life of a young military volunteer, Serhiy, who loses his arm on the front lines. When he returns he’s taken to Lviv where program Unbroken makes him whole once more. He is rehabilitated and given a bionic arm. The last scene is a sentimental one in which his mechanical fingers place a ring on a young woman’s finger – Yulia, his girlfriend.
“Concrete, pertinent, and humanitarian and therefore a program like Unbroken is necessary.” commented Linsard about the program. Other the financial aid provided by the city of Cannes, as part of an exchange of skills, a delegation from the Simone Veil ward of Cannes Hospital will travel to Ukraine in April for the inauguration of phase one of the program.
Cannes leads the way inside and outside the hotel de ville
Cannes, in many ways, has been at the forefront of the French response to the Ukrainian war. During the latest Cannes Film Festival 75’, all film entries that were from or related to official Russian parties were automatically barred from consideration. Today, Cannes is once more leading the charge. After having led the first convoy of humanitarian aid back in March of 2022, Mayor Lisnard is now mobilizing his Mayoral network by using his AMF position to aid Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.
The supportive sentiment is clearly not restricted to the mayoral office. 72 year old Lina Chora and her husband explained that they were proud of their mayor for going twice to Ukraine and are happy that the town has mobilized both on a macro and micro level to help their fellow Ukrainians.
Olivier Claudai Cabaud, 54, explained that although he wasn’t aware of the new twinning, he was happy about it and delighted that Cannes is offering moral support to the Ukranians.
Maria Kuchirka, a Franco-Ukrainian Cannoise, and the President of “Ideas without Borders” spoke with Riviera Buzz after the press conference: “Mayor Lisnard has set the example for other mayors in France to do the same and twin with other Ukrainian cities that are in desperate need of humanitarian aid and attention. We hope that the support that Cannes has offered Lviv could be emulated elsewhere in France.”
As the conference concluded, Andriy Sadovyi thanked Cannes by saying; “Friends made during war time, are friends kept for life.”
Lead image via Unbroken; all other photos courtesy Hekmat Aboukhater