Russia, Ukraine war: Kremlin missile attacks strike Lviv, seen as crossroads for refugees and aid destination

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A barrage of missiles on Friday struck parts of Lviv, a western Ukrainian city that thousands of people have passed through on their way to the safety of Poland or to enter more dangerous Ukraine territories to provide aid amid Russia’s ongoing onslaught. 

Russian forces on Friday launched an attack against an aircraft repair installation at an airport just outside Lviv, close to the border with Poland. At least one person was reported wounded.

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Satellite photos showed the strike destroyed a repair hangar and appeared to damage two other buildings. A row of fighter jets appeared intact, but an apparent impact crater sat in front of them.

In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, damage from a Russian strike on Lviv's international airport is seen in Lviv, Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022. 

In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, damage from a Russian strike on Lviv’s international airport is seen in Lviv, Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022. 
(Planet Labs PBC via AP)

Ukraine said it had shot down two of six missiles in the volley, which came from the Black Sea.

The early morning attack was the closest strike yet to the center of Lviv, which has become a crossroads for people fleeing from other parts of Ukraine and for others entering to deliver aid or join the fight. The war has swelled the city’s population by 200,000 to 300,000, according to officials. 

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Lviv has at times been at the center of humanitarian aid efforts. Prior to Friday’s attacks, Lviv had largely been spared the scale of destruction unfolding further east, becoming the first destination for many of those fleeing the country.

As of Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had moved at least 22 trucks and planned to move another 10 with emergency supplies to Lviv, a spokesperson for the office told The Associated Press. 

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Lviv is located roughly 70 kilometers, or about 44 miles, from the Poland border. Also Friday, the United Nations Refugee Agency announced that more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees had fled to Poland in the first three weeks of war.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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