Russia has laid siege to several cities and struck them, repeatedly hitting medical facilities and leading to a number of humanitarian crises.
LVIV, Ukraine – Waves of Russian missiles smashed a military training base in western Ukraine on Sunday, 35 people were killed in an attack on a facility that served as an important center of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO countries supporting it in defending against Moscow’s brutal attack.
More than 30 Russian cruise missiles aimed at a sprawling objectlocated near the border with Poland, a NATO member and which has long been used to train the Ukrainian military, often with instructors from the United States and other Western countries.
Poland is also a transit route for Western military aid to Ukraine, and the strikes followed Moscow’s threats to target those supplies. The attack so close to the border was a heavy symbol in the conflict that it revived the old Cold War rivalry that spawned NATO and threatened to rewrite the current global security order.
From Russian invasion more than two weeks agoThousands are believed to have been killed, both civilians and soldiers, and millions have fled their homes amid Europe’s biggest land conflict since World War II. Despite its excellent firepower, Russia struggled in its advance through Ukraine, in the face of tougher-than-expected Ukrainian resistance, backed by Western support for weapons. Instead, it laid siege to several cities and struck them, repeatedly hitting medical facilities and leading to a number of humanitarian crises.
Many civilians were caught in the shelling, and Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said Sunday that at least 85 children have been killed so far. An American journalist was killed and another was injured when their car was shelled at a Russian checkpoint on Sunday, police said. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden sends national security adviser to Rome to meet with Chinese official on Monday amid concerns that the country is stepping up Russian disinformation, Pope Francis has called for peace.
According to the governor of the western Lviv region of Ukraine, the attacked training base near Yavoriv is less than 15 miles from the nearest border crossing with Poland and appears to be the westernmost target hit during Russia’s 18-day invasion.
NATO and international exercises were held at the base a senior NATO officialAdmiral Rob Bauer, previously hailed it as the embodiment of the “spirit of military cooperation” between Ukraine and international forces. Thus, the site symbolizes Russia’s long-standing concern that the Western military alliance of 30 members poses a threat to Moscow by operating so close to its territory.
One of Moscow’s demands for an end to hostilities in Ukraine is to abandon its ambitions to join NATO.
Lviv Governor Maxim Kozitsky said most of Russia’s missiles fired on Sunday “were shot down because the air defense system had worked.” According to him, those who made their way killed at least 35 people and injured 134.
Russian militants also shelled an airport in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk, less than 94 miles north of Romania and 155 miles from Hungary, countries that are also NATO allies. The airport, which includes a military airfield as well as a runway for civilian flights, was also a target on Friday.
NATO said Sunday that it currently has no personnel in Ukraine, although the U.S. has increased the number of U.S. troops deployed in Poland. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the West would respond if Russia’s weapons went beyond Ukraine and even accidentally hit any NATO member.
“Biden has repeatedly made it clear that the United States will work with our allies to protect every inch of NATO territory, that is, every inch,” Sullivan told CBS News “Face the Nation.”
Sullivan is heading to Rome on Monday to meet with China’s senior foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi. Their talks will focus on “efforts to manage competition between our two countries and discuss the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security,” said Emily Horn, speaking at the White House National Security Council.
The city of Lviv itself has so far been deprived of the scale of destruction that unfolded in its east and south. Its population of 721,000 people increased during the war, and residents fled from other bombed-out settlements, and as a springboard for the nearly 2.6 million people who fled the country.
Ukrainian and European leaders have had limited success in pushing for Russia to open a safe passage for civilians trapped in the fighting. Ukrainian authorities have said more than 10 humanitarian corridors will open on Sunday under an agreement with Russia, including from the shattered and besieged port of Mariupol, where the city council says 2,187 people have been killed in fighting so far.
The port city was one of the worst despairs of the war, and the council told the Telegram that there had been 22 bombings of the city in the past day.
“The invaders are cynically and purposefully striking at homes, crowded places, completely destroying children’s hospitals and completely destroying the city’s infrastructure,” the statement said.
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message that a convoy of 100 tons of humanitarian aid was being sent to Mariupol, and all necessary diplomatic efforts had been made to reach those in need.
The capture of Mariupol and other ports on the Sea of Azov could allow Russia to create a land corridor to Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.
Previous efforts to deliver supplies to besieged cities or civilians have often failed, and Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of breaking promises to hold back fire on temporary evacuation routes. Zelensky said that the Ukrainian authorities still managed to evacuate nearly 125,000 people from areas where hostilities continue.
But the continuation of hostilities on various fronts led to further suffering on Sunday in the country and caused new international outrage.
In the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea, authorities reported nine people were killed in the blasts. Russian troops advancing from the Crimea were trying to bypass Nikolaev, which seemed to be pushing westward towards the Black Sea port of Odessa, the British Ministry of Defense said.
Ukrainian authorities say Russian airstrikes on a monastery and children’s sanatorium in the eastern Donetsk region have claimed the lives of monks and refugees, injuring 32 people.
Another air strike struck a train heading west, evacuating people from the east, killing one person and injuring them, the chief regional administrator of Donetsk said.
In the north, in the city of Chernihiv, one person was killed and another was injured in a Russian air strike that destroyed a residential area, the Ministry of Emergencies said.
Around the capital, Kyiv, the main political and strategic target of the invasion, fighting also intensified, with nighttime shelling of the northwestern suburbs and a rocket attack on Sunday that destroyed a warehouse in the east.
Police in the Kiev region said that American video journalist Brent Reno was killed and another journalist was injured in an attack by Russian troops in Ukraine. Police said on their official website that the Russian military opened fire on the car. It says that the injured journalist was taken to a hospital in Kyiv.
Chief Regional Administrator Alexei Kuleba said that Russian forces were apparently trying to block and paralyze the capital day and night by shelling the suburbs.
He promised that any full assault would meet fierce resistance, saying: “We are preparing to defend Kyiv, and we are ready to fight for ourselves.”
Zelensky also claimed that Russians used blackmail and bribery in an attempt to force local officials in the southern Kherson region to form a “pseudo-republic” similar to those in the two eastern regions, where Russian-backed separatists began fighting Ukrainian forces in 2014.
Zelensky said on Saturday that 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had died in the war. The Russians did not give such a calculation for several days.
In some of his sharpest denunciations of the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis on Sunday condemned the “barbarism” of killing children and other civilians and called for an end to the attacks “before cities turn into cemeteries.” Franciszek said that Mariupol, the southern city that “bears the name” of the Virgin Mary, “became a city that perished in a painful war that is destroying Ukraine.”
Associated Press journalist Mstislav Chernov from Mariupol and other reporters from around the world contributed.