Russia bombards Ukrainian city near Polish border

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A general view of damaged buildings following a Russian rocket strike that hit an apartment building, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine in this screen grab obtained from a handout video released on July 6, 2023. Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

A Russian missile strike killed at least four people in Lviv on Thursday in the biggest attack on the western Ukrainian city’s civilian infrastructure since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukrainian officials said. The city lies just 80 kilometers from Ukraine’s border with Poland.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a one-minute video online showing buildings with parts of the roof and upper floors destroyed, windows smashed, and rescuers searching through the debris for survivors. He said there would be a response.

“Unfortunately, there are wounded and dead. My condolences to the families,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app.

“There definitely will be a response to the enemy. It will be a noticeable one.”

The Interior Ministry put the death toll at four, and said 34 people had been wounded, including a child. Rescuers were continuing to work at the scene.

The emergency services said they had managed to rescue seven people from the rubble and evacuated 64 others.

“They, Russians, Rashists, say that they are bombing military objects but they hit a peaceful house. People were sleeping. How could they do it?,” said Lviv resident Vira Luben, a woman in her seventies, using a derogatory term for Russians.

Holding back tears, she added: “World – save and help us, because without you we will not manage to deal with them.”

Reuters television footage showed residents calming their crying neighbours while others helped rescuers sweep up shattered glass.

Ukraine’s air force said Russia had attacked Lviv with Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea. It said seven out of 10 missiles were shot down.

Russia did not immediately comment on the attack. It denies deliberately targeting civilians despite repeatedly hitting residential areas in frequent air strikes across Ukraine.

APPEALS FOR WEAPONS

Mayor Andriy Sadovyi called it the largest attack of the more than 16-month-old war on civilian infrastructure in Lviv, a city that is far from frontlines and about 70 km (43 miles) from the border with NATO member Poland.

Lviv was home to about 700,000 people before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. The population has swollen since the war began because many people have fled to the city from fighting and air strikes in other parts of the country.

Sadovyi said that 35 residential houses, an office complex, a student campus, a school, and 50 cars were damaged. He said windows in hundreds of apartments were smashed and the city would provide 100 million hryvnias ($2.7 million) for repairs.

Andriy Yermak, head of Zelenskiy’s office, condemned the attack, called for more air defence systems from allies and urged Ukraine’s Western partners to accept it as a NATO member.

The military alliance holds a summit next week but some members are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia.

Zelenskiy said in excerpts of an interview with CNN that were released on Wednesday that he had hoped to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces sooner than last month, and that he had urged Western allies to accelerate the supply of weapons for that mission

SOURCE: REUTERS and AGENCIES

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