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News

Rare Russian Strike Hits Lviv, A City Relatively Untouched By Violence

todayApril 18, 2022 2

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LVIV, Ukraine — Russian missiles struck Lviv on Monday, killing at least seven people in the first reported deaths of the war in the western city, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have fled to escape the fierce fighting in other parts of Ukraine.

The head of Lviv’s military administration, Maksym Koztyskyy, said three missiles hit empty military warehouses while a fourth hit a garage. He did not say whether all the casualties were from the strike on the garage.

Gray smoke billowed from what remained of the red roof of a long, concrete garage with a sign reading “carwash” and “tire replacement.” The hole in the roof indicated the building on the western side of the city, overlooking a railway line, had suffered a direct hit from a missile. As another air raid siren sounded, firefighters tried to extinguish the flames while ambulances ferried away the wounded.

As the garage burned, a train from the eastern city of Dnipro rumbled slowly by on its way to the nearby Lviv train station, carrying passengers fleeing the fighting in Dnipro and headed to the city of Truskavets in western Ukraine. It stopped briefly in Lviv and one of the conductors said he had tried to reassure the passengers as they started hearing about the airstrikes by phone.

“People were getting information from their relatives in Lviv” about the attacks, said the conductor, Fedir, leaning out of the railway car to talk before it pulled away. “They weren’t panicked, but they were worried. I told them to stay calm,” he added, asking that he be identified by his first name only.

Inside the train station, Anna Khrystiuk, a volunteer giving out information to displaced people, said passengers ran to the shelter in the station when the missiles hit.

“It was panic,” she said. “Many people were from Kharkiv and other places and they were so afraid of rockets already. They thought that it was safe to stay here.”

Police officer Orest Maznin said he had been driving to work past the garage when the missile struck and he narrowly escaped being hit by shrapnel. His car windshield had a large hole from the impact of a piece of metal.

He said he and other drivers slammed on the brakes and took cover near their cars when the missiles struck.

“It happened too quickly for me to be afraid,” said Mr. Maznin, who joined the police force just six months ago.

In addition to the seven killed, Mr. Kozytskyy said 11 people were injured, but that toll could rise as rescue workers cleared rubble from the impact site.

Mr. Kozytskyy said the missiles were launched by aircraft coming from the direction of the Caspian Sea.

The Lviv mayor said earlier on Monday that five missiles were fired.

A month ago, Russian missiles struck a military base outside the city that was used extensively for training Ukrainian forces. And Russian missile attacks hit a fuel storage site and a tank repair facility in Lviv in late March.

Original story from https://www.nytimes.com

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