Nine people have been killed after a Ukrainian military base used for NATO drills less than 15 miles from the Polish border was targeted in a Russian airstrike, the governor of the Lviv region has said.
Maksym Kozytskyy said that 57 people were wounded after 30 cruise missiles were fired at the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security in Yavoriv, in what appears to be the westernmost attack of the war so far.
The strike has taken the war close to the border of Poland, a member of NATO, after a senior Russian diplomat warned that Moscow considers Western shipments of military equipment to Ukraine “legitimate targets” for attacks.
Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov has said foreign military instructors work on the military training site in the Lviv region.
A defence ministry representative said they are still trying to establish if any of the instructors were at the facility at the time of the attack.
Reuters says a witness saw more than a dozen ambulances heading in the direction of the base.
Since 2015, the US has regularly sent instructors to the military base and the facility has also hosted international NATO drills.
The military training facility is the biggest in western Ukraine and is located less than 15 miles (25km) from the border with Poland.
“The occupiers launched an airstrike on the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security,” Anton Mironovich, spokesman for the Academy of Land Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was quoted as saying by the Interfax Ukraine news agency.
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Russia warned they face a ‘fight to the death’ to take Kyiv
Russian fighters have also fired at the airport in Ivano-Frankivsk, a city in western Ukraine located 155 miles (250km) from the border with Slovakia and Hungary.
Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv said Russia’s goal is “to sow panic and fear”.
The attacks come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Russian forces that they faced a fight to the death if they try to occupy the capital Kyiv, as air raid sirens again woke residents on Sunday morning.
“If they decide to carpet bomb and simply erase the history of this region… and destroy all of us, then they will enter Kyiv. If that’s their goal, let them come in, but they will have to live on this land by themselves,” Mr Zelenskyy said on Saturday.
Russia ‘trying to create breakaway republic in Kherson’
In his latest speech, President Zelenskyy also warned Russia was trying to make the captured city of Kherson a breakaway republic similar to Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
“The invaders in the Kherson region are trying to repeat the notorious experience of the formation of pseudo-republics,” he said.
“Blackmail local leaders, put pressure on deputies, look for someone to bribe. They’re trying to organise the so-called ‘KPR’ (Kherson People’s Republic)… against the will of the people who go out to protest every day, and who want Ukraine.”
On Saturday, the Ukrainian parliament claimed Russia has installed a new mayor in the southern port city of Melitopol – a day after the city’s elected mayor was allegedly kidnapped by forces.
Galina Danilchenko, a former member of the city council, was announced as the new mayor on local TV on Saturday, according to reports.
Ukraine’s parliament claimed that the previous mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was kidnapped by armed men acting on behalf of the Kremlin on Friday.