Russia bombs Lviv, 40km from Poland, while Ukraine resists handing over Mariupol
Residents of the city of Lviv, in western Ukraine and near the border with Poland, have woken up this Monday with the impacts of missiles from Russian forces that have caused at least seven deaths.
According to regional leader Maksym Kozytsky, four missiles were fired at military installations. Three hit warehouses and another a garage where cars were being serviced.
“The enemy wants destroy us as a nation“, said the mayor of the city, Andriy Sadovyi.
More explosions occurred over the weekend in kyiv, the capital, in Kharkiv, to the north, and in Mykolaiv, in the south of the country.
These are attacks that occur weeks after Russia said concentrate its military offensive in the Donbas regionin the east of the country, under the pretext of defending the significant Russophone population of that area.
In recent days, the focus of the war has also been on the siege in Mariupol, an important port in southern Ukraine where local forces are reluctant to hand over the city despite the ultimatum imposed by the Russians.
This Monday there will also be no humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians for the second consecutive day after Ukrainian and Russian officials failed to reach an agreement on the matter.
Monday’s attacks surprised many of the residents of Lviv, a city that has so far not suffered from the war on the same scale as other Ukrainian cities.
One of the surprised locals was Valya, 70, who assumed she would be safe despite hearing the air raid alarms.
Since she was born, Valya has lived in a house close to the explosions. She then she heard the detonations that destroyed her window.
“I fell. Everything was shaking. She was very scared,” she said.
Valya walked out in her pajamas, dazed, until a neighbor ordered her down to a basement.
“I was lucky that this was only the wave and not the rocket,” he said.
What is happening in Mariupol?
The defenders of the besieged city of Mariupol will fight to the end against Russian forces, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
This port city has not fallen despite the fact that Moscow has given an ultimatum to the last fighters for them to give up.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that Russia has chosen to raze Mariupol to the ground. And local officials say Russian forces have announced they will arrest anyone entering or leaving the city.
The capture of this entire city is seen as a great strategic prize for Russialeaving it in control of a vast area of southern and eastern Ukraine.
“They will fight to the end”
In an interview with the US network ABC, Shmyhal stated that the Ukrainian forces had ignored Russia’s ultimatum to surrender on Sunday.
“The city has not fallen. Our military forces are still there, our soldiers, and they will fight to the end. And they are still in Mariupol,” he said.
The Russian army claims to control almost all of Mariupol, while Ukraine’s Azov Battalion still holds out in Azovstal, a huge steel factory overlooking the Sea of Azov.
Justin Crump, a military expert at security consultancy Sybilline, told the BBC there could be between 500 and 800 Ukrainian soldiers holding out in the city.
“The steel factory has nuclear bunkers, tunnels. It’s made for survive a nuclear conflict. They are well prepared for the defense”, Crump.
“They have had more than 50 days to fortify it and build escape routes. I suspect that unless they are wiped out they will be around for a long time. It is credible that there is a guerrilla resistance”, added the expert.
Despair for civilians
Ukraine has demanded that Russian forces open humanitarian corridors from Mariupol to allow civilians and wounded Ukrainian troops to leave, but such large-scale evacuations have not taken place in weeks.
The situation is desperate for civilians of the city, with destroyed houses and a shortage of water.
While Mariupol’s defenders continue to hold on, Ukrainian officials continue to deny any possibility of territorial concessions for Russia.
In an interview broadcast on CNN on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the idea of letting Moscow seize parts of eastern Ukraine to stop the conflict.
“Ukraine and its people are clear about it. We have no right to anyone else’s territories, but we will not give up ours“, said.
Ukraine says five people were killed in shelling in Kharkiv on Sunday and two others were killed in Zolote in the Luhansk region, where residents have been asked to evacuate.
In the south, in Mykolaiv, where fighters have been holding off the Russian advance on the port of Odessa, the governor says there have been constant missile attacks.
The Russian authorities, for their part, confirmed the death of the Major General Vladimir Frolovdeputy commander of the 8th Army, the last of several senior officers to die in the conflict.
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