Russian airstrike hits base in western Ukraine, kills 35
Waves of Russian missiles pounded a military training base close to Ukraine's western border with NATO member Poland, killing 35 people
Waves of Russian missiles pounded a military training base close to Ukraine's western border with NATO member Poland, killing 35 people. The strike followed Russian threats to target foreign weapon shipments that are helping Ukrainian fighters defend their country against Russia's grinding invasion.
More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted the sprawling training facility that is less than 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the closest border point with Poland, according to the governor of Ukraine's western Lviv region. Poland is a key location for routing Western military aid to Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Lviv had largely been spared the scale of destruction unfolding further east and become a destination for residents escaping bombarded cities and for many of the nearly 2.6 million refugees who have fled the country.
The training center in Yavoriv appears to be the most westward target struck so far in the 18-day invasion. The facility, also known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, has long been used to train Ukrainian military personnel, often with instructors from the United States and other NATO countries.
It has also hosted international NATO drills. As such, the site symbolizes what has long been a Russian complaint: That the NATO alliance of 30 member countries is moving ever closer to Russia's borders. Russian has demanded that Ukraine drop its ambitions to join NATO.
Lviv governor Maksym Kozytskyi said most of the missiles fired Sunday were shot down because the air defense system worked. The ones that got through through killed at least 35 people and wounded 134, he said.
Russian fighters also fired at the airport in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Ukraine's border with Slovakia and Hungary, an attack the city's mayor said was intended to sow panic and fear. The airport, which includes a military airfield as well as a runway for civilian flights, also was targeted Friday.
Fighting also raged in multiple areas of the country overnight. Ukrainian authorities said Russian airstrikes on a monastery and a children's resort in the eastern Donetsk region hit spots where monks and refugees were sheltering, wounding 32 people.
Kuleba said Russian agents were operating in the capital and its suburbs, marking out possible future targets. He vowed that any all-out assault would meet stiff resistance, saying: We're getting ready to defend Kyiv, and we're prepared to fight for ourselves.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to break his country apart, as well as starting a new stage of terror with the alleged detention of a mayor from a city west of Mariupol.
The Ukrainian president also accused Russia of detaining the mayor of Melitopol, a city 192 kilometers (119 miles) west of Mariupol. The Ukrainian leader called on Russian forces to heed calls from demonstrators in the occupied city for the mayor's release.
Moscow has said it would establish humanitarian corridors out of conflict zones, but Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of disrupting those paths and firing on civilians. Russian forces have hit at least two dozen hospitals and medical facilities, according to the World Health Organization.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said just nine of 14 agreed-upon corridors were open on Saturday, and that about 13,000 people had used them to evacuate around the country.
French and German leaders spoke Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a failed attempt to reach a cease-fire. According to the Kremlin, Putin laid out terms for ending the war. For ending hostilities, Moscow has demanded that Ukraine drop its bid to join NATO and adopt a neutral status; acknowledge the Russian sovereignty over Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014; recognize the independence of separatist regions in the country's east; and agree to demilitarize.
The Russian invaders appear to have struggled far more than expected against determined Ukrainian fighters. Still, Russia's stronger military threatens to grind down Ukrainian forces.
Thousands of soldiers on both sides are believed to have been killed along with many civilians, including at least 79 Ukrainian children, its government says. At least 2.5 million people have fled the country, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
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