Air raid sirens went off throughout the night in Lviv and many other regions and continued through the morning Sunday as Russian forces again expanded operations to include targets in Western Ukraine..
At least eight Russian missiles were launched at a military range near Lviv early Sunday morning, officials there reported. And the mayor of the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, about 70 miles south of Lviv, said an airport in the area was targeted in a strike Sunday morning, as well.
Lviv has been identified as a potential capital if Kyiv falls to the Kremlin.
The attacks early Sunday came after Russia bombarded cities across Ukraine on Saturday, pounding Mariupol in the south, shelling the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, and thwarting the efforts of people trying to flee the violence.
In Mariupol, which has endured some of the worst punishment since Russia invaded, efforts to bring food, water and medicine into the port city of 430,000 and to evacuate civilians, were prevented by unceasing attacks. More than 1,500 people have died in Mariupol during the siege, according to the mayor’s office, and the shelling has even interrupted efforts to bury the dead in mass graves.
Russian forces shelled a mosque sheltering more than 80 children and adults in Mariupol, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
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.
“Ukraine will stand this test. We need time and strength to break the war machine that has come to our land,” Zelenskyy said during his nightly address to the nation Saturday.
Russian soldiers pillaged a humanitarian convoy that was trying to reach Mariupol and blocked another, a Ukrainian official said. Ukraine’s military said Russian forces captured Mariupol’s eastern outskirts, tightening their siege of the strategic port. Taking Mariupol and other ports on the Azov Sea could allow Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.
In the west, multiple explosions were reported near Lviv about 6 a.m. local time Sunday.
USA TODAY reporters this week spent 36 hours with a team of overseas nurses, engineers and logistics personnel invited by Ukraine’s authorities to build a field hospital for emergency and specialized trauma care on the outskirts of Lviv.
Already, Lviv was feeling the strain of hundreds of people pouring off trains each day as they flee for destinations in western Europe and beyond. About 1.5 million people have left Ukraine for Poland and other neighboring countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Russian forces are attempting to envelop Ukrainian forces in the east as they advance from Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south, the British Ministry of Defence reported Sunday.
President Joe Biden on Saturday authorized the State Department to provide up to $200 million for arms and equipment to aid Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke for 75 minutes Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to agree an “immediate cease-fire in Ukraine.”
Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned Saturday that convoys transporting foreign weapons into Ukraine will become “legitimate targets” for attacks.
Ukraine’s chief prosecutor’s office says at least 79 children have been killed since the invasion began on Feb. 24. At least 2.5 million people have fled the country, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
Some 1,300 Ukrainian troops have been killed since Russia began its invasion, according to Zelenskyy.
Russia pounds military range in Ukraine’s west
Russian forces carried out an air strike on a military range near Lviv in western Ukraine, expanding its offensive closer to the border with Poland.
The Russian military on Sunday morning fired eight rockets at the Yaroviv military range 30 kilometers northwest of Lviv, the Lviv regional administration said, without offering any details about possible casualties.
The Yaroviv military range, also known as the Yaroviv International Peacekeeping and Security Center, is located 35 kilometers from Ukraine’s border with Poland.
Since 2015, the U.S. has regularly sent instructors to the Yaroviv military range to train Ukraine’s military. The range has also hosted international NATO drills.
On Friday, Russian forces shelled two airfields in the western cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, firing more than 10 cruise missiles from Tu-95MS strategic bombers, the Ukrainian General Staff said.
A third Russian general has died in fighting, Ukraine officials say
A Russian general was killed in fighting at Ukraine’s southern city Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said.
Maj. Gen. Andrei Kolesnikov would be the third Russian general to die since the invasion of Ukraine began, making an unusual loss of such a high-ranking military official during fighting. Kolesnikov was the commander of Russia’s Eastern Military District, according to Ukraine’s military.
Russia did not confirm Kolesnikov’s death, and has not shared many details about its military losses during the invasion of Ukraine. Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, the commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division, and Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, who had fought with Russian forces in Syria and Chechnya, had previously been reported killed.
Ukraine: 7 dead, including one child, after shooting in humanitarian corridor
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said Saturday that seven people, including one child, were killed Friday by Russian soldiers while traveling along a humanitarian corridor, calling the act a “military crime.”
The ministry claimed Russian soldiers shot at a group of civilians, consisting primarily of women and children, behind “the agreed ‘green’ corridor.” The attack allegedly occurred during an evacuation attempt in the village of Peremoga, which is in the Baryshevskyi district of the Kyiv region. The number of non-fatal injuries from the shooting is unknown, the agency said.
The defense ministry additionally claimed that after the shooting, Russian soldiers would not allow other individuals to escape.
“At present, it is practically impossible to contact them, as well as to provide humanitarian and medical care,” the agency said.
– Ella Lee
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