When I ask Mykola Lenko why his town was once called New York, he tells me a couple of stories. He especially enjoys the tale about how the owner of one of the town's brick factories came to meet his wife-to-be.
"In the 18th century, this factory owner went to New York city to visit an exhibition. He fell in love with the daughter of his interpreter and brought her here. She missed her home so much that he renamed the place New York."
The story may be just a piece of town legend, but at least it brings a smile to Lenko's tired face. The 46-year-old mayor of Novhorodske, a village in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, is responsible for a settlement seven kilometers away from Horlivka, a major town under control of Russia-backed separatists.