A wave of Russian airstrikes hits western Ukraine, far from the front lines

LVIV, Ukraine (August 15) (Reuters) – Russian air strikes hit two regions of western Ukraine bordering NATO member Poland and other areas on Tuesday, killing three people at a factory and injuring more than a dozen, Ukrainian officials said. .

Local media said the attacks were the largest air assault on the Lviv region since the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The deaths were reported in the northwest region of Volyn. Officials said an industrial company in the regional capital, Lutsk, was hit in the overnight attack. Governor Yuriy Bohuliko said several people were taken to hospital.

Swedish industrial bearing maker SKF said its factory in Lutsk was hit by a missile overnight, killing three employees.

Footage released by Ukraine’s state emergency service showed rescuers pulling a man from the rubble. Reuters was able to confirm the site as the SKF factory.

Governor Maksim Kozitsky said 15 people were also injured in the Lviv region. Six missiles damaged dozens of buildings and a kindergarten playground in and around the regional capital. Kozitsky said the youngest victim was 10 years old.

Both Volyn and Lviv border Poland and are hundreds of miles from the front line, where the Ukrainian army is opposing Russian forces in the 18-month-old war.

“The children are very scared. They were hysterical, they were shaking. One of them even vomited,” Lviv resident Dmytro Evaskishin said outside an apartment building as firefighters dug through the rubble. “Thank God we are all alive.”

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Orenergo, the operator of the national grid, said power lines in the area were also damaged, but electricity had been restored to those affected.

The city of Lviv escaped plenty of Russian air strikes until July, when seven people were killed by a missile that hit an apartment building near the historic centre.

The city is generally seen as a safe haven from conflict, with some government offices having moved there and international NGOs using it as a base. It has also been a transit point for Ukrainian refugees on their way to Poland and abroad.

“These are the parts of the country where millions of people are seeking safety and refuge after fleeing the horrors of the Russian invasion,” said the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, Denise Brown, in a statement condemning the attacks.

“Continued Russian attacks on critical infrastructure in populated areas cause enormous human suffering.”

At least two people were injured in the southeastern city of Dnipro, where Governor Serhiy Lysak said a commercial establishment and a sports complex were hit.

Prime Minister Dennis Shmyhal said civilian infrastructure including schools and a hospital were damaged in eight districts in Tuesday’s attacks. The governor said that part of the town of Smila in the center of the country was left without water after two missiles hit the Cherkassy region.

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, wrote on Telegram: “The daily terror of Russians has one goal: to break our fighting spirit. This will not happen.”

The Air Force said at least 28 cruise missiles were involved in the strikes and that 16 were shot down. The spokesman, Yuriy Ahnat, told Ukrainian television that the incoming missiles were constantly changing their trajectory, making it difficult for air defenses to operate.

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He said Ukraine’s kill rate would be 100% if Kiev got the F-16 fighter jets it has long sought from its Western partners. An 11-nation alliance is expected to start training Ukrainian pilots on the planes this month.

(Reporting by Lydia Kelly in Warsaw, Maria Tsvetkova in New York, Dan Belichuk in Kiev and Andrei Biron in Lviv; Additional reporting by Marie Mannes in Stockholm; Editing by Angus McSwan, Alexandra Hudson

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