Printed on Thu Jun 30 2022 4:39:24 PM

Air strike on Ukrainian military base killed 9

International desk
Ukrainian military base
At least nine people were killed and 57 wounded in a Russian airstrike on a large Ukrainian military base near the Polish border on Sunday, local Ukrainian authorities said, in what appeared to be the westernmost attack of the war.

Foreign military instructors have worked in the past at the Yavoriv International Center for Peacekeeping and Security. It was not clear if any were present at the time.

A Ukrainian Defence Ministry representative told Reuters the ministry was still trying to establish if any of the foreign instructors were at the facility at the time of the attack.

The military training facility, the biggest in the western part of the country and traditionally the site of joint drills with NATO, is located less than 25km from the Polish border.

The Kremlin did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the missile strike so close to the border with NATO.

Regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said Russian planes fired around 30 rockets at the facility, adding that some were intercepted before they hit.

A Reuters witness saw 19 ambulances with sirens on driving from the direction of the base following the strike and black smoke rising from the area.

The 360 sq km facility is one of Ukraine's biggest and the largest in the western part of the country.

"Poland condemns any element of aggression against Ukraine, including shelling of the Yavoriv base," Polish foreign ministry spokesman said in a message sent to Reuters.

The mayor of another city in western Ukraine, Ivano-Frankivsk, said Russian troops also continued to hit its airport, with no initial reports of casualties.

In eastern Ukraine, Russian troops are trying to surround Ukrainian forces as they advance from Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south, the UK Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

"Russian forces advancing from Crimea are attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odessa," the ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.

Air raid sirens again woke residents in Kyiv on Sunday morning, hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Russian forces they face a fight to the death if they try to occupy the capital.

"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," Zelenskyy said on Saturday.

Russian shelling has trapped thousands of people in besieged cities and sent 2.5 million Ukrainians fleeing to neighbouring countries.

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Saturday of killing seven civilians in an attack on women and children trying to flee fighting near Kyiv. France said Russian President Vladimir Putin had shown no readiness to make peace.

The Ukrainian intelligence service said the seven, including one child, were killed as they fled the village of Peremoha and that "the occupiers forced the remnants of the column to turn back".

Reuters was unable immediately to verify the report and Russia offered no immediate comment.

Moscow denies targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on Feb 24. It blames Ukraine for failed attempts to evacuate civilians from encircled cities, an accusation Ukraine and its Western allies strongly reject.
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