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Russia strikes base near Polish border, kills 35 – Times of India



NOVOYAVORIVSK (UKRAINE): Russia took direct aim on Sunday at a hub for Western arms shipments and fighters in Ukraine, launching a barrage of airstrikes at a military base near the Polish border that killed at least 35 people and brought the war perilously closer to Nato’s doorstep. A day after warning that weapons flowing into Ukraine from Western allies were “legitimate targets,” Russia carried out the aerial assault against the base 19 km from the frontier with Poland, where American troops are deployed to bolster Nato’s defences. Ukrainian officials said that Russian warplanes launched from western Russia and the Black Sea fired about 30 missiles, 22 of which were intercepted by Ukraine’s air defences.
Besides being a transit point for arms for Ukraine, the base, known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, was a training ground for up to 1,000 foreign fighters as part of the new International Legion that Ukraine has formed to help fight Russia, a Ukrainian military official said.The 360-square km facility is one of Ukraine’s biggest. Five hours after the attack, the fires at the base were still raging. Dozens of people injured in the attack were raced to area hospitals. A Ukrainian soldier on the base said that there was a shortage there of tourniquets and other essential medical equipment. The head of the Lviv regional military administration, Maksym Kozytskyi, said that at least 35 people were killed and 134 were wounded. They included military personnel and civilians. He repeated calls for Nato to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials said the missiles were fired from Russian fighter jets flying from Saratov, in southwestern Russia. Their target was the International Peacekeeping and Security Center. Until February, American forces were at the base as part of a Nato mission focused on training the Ukrainian army. They withdrew days before the Russian invasion. Britain said the incident marked a “significant escalation” of the conflict. US President Joe Biden has said Nato would defend every inch of its territory if Russia’s invasion spills over into member states of the Western defence alliance.
Residents of the capital Kyiv, meanwhile, woke again to the sound of air raid sirens and city authorities said they were stockpiling two weeks worth of essential food items for the 2 million people who have not yet fled from Russian forces attempting to encircle the city. Ukraine also reported renewed air strikes on an airport in the west, heavy shelling on Chernihiv northeast of the capital and attacks on the southern town of Mykolayiv, where officials said nine people had been killed. In eastern Ukraine, Russian troops were trying to surround Ukrainian forces as they advance from the port of Mariupol in the south and the second city Kharkiv in the north, the British defence ministry said. The city council in Mariupol said in a statement that 2,187 residents had been killed since the start of the invasion. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, has suffered some of the heaviest bombardment.
British intelligence also said Russian forces advancing from Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, were trying to circumvent Mykolayiv as they look to drive west towards Odesa. Air strikes on Mykolayiv killed nine people on Sunday, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said online. In Chernihiv, around 150 km northeast of Kyiv, firefighters rescued residents from a burning building after heavy shelling.

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