Home Radio waves Russian airstrike hits base in western Ukraine, kills 35 | Radio WGN 720

Russian airstrike hits base in western Ukraine, kills 35 | Radio WGN 720

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LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Waves of Russian missiles pounded a military training base near Ukraine’s western border with NATO member Poland, killing 35 people, Ukrainian authorities said Sunday. The strike follows Russian threats to target foreign arms shipments that are helping Ukrainian fighters defend their country against Russia’s relentless onslaught.

More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted the sprawling facility located less than 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the nearest border point with Poland, according to the governor of Lviv region in western Ukraine . Poland is a transit route for Western military aid to Ukraine, and the United States has increased the number of American troops deployed there.

The training base near Yavoriv appears to be the westernmost target hit during the 18-day Russian 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 nations. .

The base has also hosted international NATO exercises and a senior NATO official, Admiral Rob Bauer, has previously hailed it as embodying the ‘spirit of military cooperation’ between Ukraine and international forces. . As such, the site symbolizes a long-standing Russian complaint: that the 30-member Western military alliance has expanded into Eastern Europe too close to Russian territory.

One of the conditions stated by Moscow for an end to hostilities in Ukraine is that the country renounce its ambitions to join NATO.

Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskyi said most of the Russian missiles fired on Sunday “were shot down because the air defense system was working.” Those who crossed killed at least 35 people and injured 134, he said.

NATO said on Sunday that it currently has no personnel in Ukraine. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the West would react if Russian weaponry traveled outside Ukraine and hit NATO members, even accidentally.

President Joe Biden “has been clear, time and time again, that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory and that means every inch,” Sullivan said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” News.

So far, the city of Lviv itself has been spared the scale of the destruction unfolding to the east and south. Its population of 721,000 swelled during the war with residents fleeing from other bombed population centers and serving as staging posts for the approximately 2.6 million refugees who fled the country.

Ukrainian and European leaders have lobbied with limited success for Russia to grant safe passage to civilians trapped in the fighting. Ukrainian authorities said more than 10 humanitarian corridors would open on Sunday, with Russia’s agreement, including from the battered and besieged port city of Mariupol, where authorities say more than 1,500 people have been killed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address that a convoy carrying 100 tons of humanitarian aid was on its way to Mariupol, and that all necessary diplomatic efforts were made to ensure it reached those in need. need. Capturing Mariupol and other Sea of ​​Azov ports could allow Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of failing to honor previous promises not to fire along the temporary escape routes. Zelenskyy said Ukrainian authorities have still managed to evacuate nearly 125,000 people from areas where hostilities are ongoing.

But continued fighting on multiple fronts deepened misery in the country on Sunday and sparked renewed international outrage.

In the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, near the Black Sea, authorities said nine people were killed in bomb attacks. Russian forces coming from Crimea were trying to bypass Mykolaiv on what appeared to be a westward push towards the Black Sea port of Odessa, the British Ministry of Defense said.

Russian fighters also fired at the airport in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, located less than 150 kilometers (94 miles) north of Romania and 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Hungary, also allied countries of NATO. The airport, which includes a military airfield as well as a runway for civilian flights, was also targeted on Friday.

Ukrainian authorities said Russian airstrikes on a monastery and children’s resort in the eastern region of Donetsk hit places where monks and refugees had taken refuge, injuring 32 people.

Another airstrike hit a westbound train evacuating people from the east, killing one person and injuring another, the chief regional administrator for Donetsk said.

To the north, in the town of Chernihiv, one person was killed and another injured in a Russian airstrike that destroyed a residential building, emergency services said.

Around the capital, Kiev, a major political and strategic target of the invasion, fighting has also intensified, with nighttime shelling in the northwestern suburbs and a missile strike on Sunday that destroyed a warehouse to the east.

In Irpin, a suburb about 20 kilometers northwest of central Kiev, bodies lay in the open on Saturday in the streets and in a park.

“When I woke up in the morning, everything was covered in smoke, everything was black. We don’t know who is shooting and where,” said resident Serhy Protsenko as he walked through his neighborhood with explosions in the distance.

Chief regional administrator Oleksiy Kuleba said Russian forces appeared to be trying to blockade and cripple the capital by shelling suburbs day and night. Kuleba said Russian agents were in the capital and its suburbs, delineating possible future targets.

He vowed that any all-out assault would meet fierce resistance, saying, “We are preparing to defend Kiev, and we are ready to fight for ourselves.”

After talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire on Saturday broke down, the United States announced its intention to provide Ukraine with an additional $200 million for arms purchases. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned other nations that sending equipment to reinforce the Ukrainian army was “an action that makes these convoys legitimate targets”.

Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to break up his country, as well as starting “a new stage of terror” with the alleged detention of a mayor of a town west of Mariupol. He also alleged on Saturday that the Russians were using blackmail and bribery to try to force local officials in the southern region of Kherson to form a “pseudo-republic” like those in the two eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists have begun to attack. fight Ukrainian forces in 2014.

“Ukraine will stand this test. We need time and strength to smash the war machine that has come to our land,” Zelenskyy said during his nightly address to the nation on Saturday.

Zelenskyy again deplored NATO’s refusal to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine and said Ukraine had been looking for ways to procure air defenses, although it did not give details. NATO has said imposing a no-fly zone could lead to a wider war with Russia. US President Joe Biden has announced an additional $200 million in aid to Ukraine, with another $13 billion included in a bill that has passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate within days.

The Russian invaders seem to have struggled more than expected against determined Ukrainian fighters. However, the more powerful Russian army threatens to crush the Ukrainian forces. Zelenskyy reported on Saturday that 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had died since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Russian forces struck at least two dozen hospitals and medical facilities, according to the World Health Organization. Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on Sunday that at least 85 children had been killed in the Russian offensive and more than 100 injured. completely destroyed.

The United Nations said the fighting has displaced millions of Ukrainians inside the country in addition to the millions who have left.

In some of his strongest denunciations to date of the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis on Sunday denounced the “barbarity” of killing children and other civilians and pleaded for the attacks to stop “before the cities not be reduced to cemeteries”. Francis said Mariupol, the southern city that “bears the name” of the Virgin Mary, has “become a martyred city by the heartbreaking war that is devastating Ukraine.”

“In the name of God, I ask: ‘Stop this massacre,'” Francis said, drawing applause from a crowd of 25,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square, some of whom were waving Ukrainian flags.

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Associated Press reporter Mstyslav Chernov in Mariupol and other journalists from around the world contributed.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine crisis at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine