Russia hits Ukrainian military installation near Polish border, 35 dead as conflict escalates

KRAKOW, Poland | More than 30 cruise missiles pummeled a Ukrainian military training base near the Polish border Sunday, killing 35 people and rattling Western cities once thought of as safe havens from the escalating Russian invasion.

The attack on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, ​​less than 15 miles from the Polish border, marks the most westward attack since the start of Russia’s military campaign more than two weeks ago. The assault is sure to further exacerbate already soaring tensions between Russia and NATO, which has vowed to defend every inch of its territory from Russian military aggression.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday and informed him of the “crimes of the Russian aggressor” near the two nations’ border.

The number of casualties continued to increase Sunday. The head of the Lviv Regional State Administration, Maksym Kozytsky, said 134 were injured in the attacks in addition to those killed. Despite the bloodshed and destruction, officials said the region’s air defense system successfully shot down most of the Russian missiles.

Sunday’s attack could mark a significant turning point in the conflict as it indicates a shift in Russia’s attack plan. Since the initial invasion, Ukraine’s western regions have been spared the barrage of Russian attacks playing out near Ukraine’s capital and in cities farther east, which saw their own fierce fighting over the weekend amid Russian forces’ continued push toward Kyiv.

Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Ukrainians have flocked to Lviv, less than 50 miles from the western border to escape the onslaught of attacks on their home cities, and towns near the Polish border have become thoroughfares for arms and supplies entering Ukraine from the Polish border .

The international training center has historically been used by military instructors from the US and other NATO countries to train Ukrainian military personnel. The US withdrew all of its troops from Ukraine in the weeks leading up to the initial invasion.

Since the invasion, the base in Yavoriv has reportedly been used to in-process and train members of Ukraine’s recently established international legion of foreign fighters flocking to the war.

A military spokesman on Sunday would not confirm that the base was being used to house or train foreign fighters, but said no foreigners were killed or injured in the attacks. The spokesman also said the extent of the damage to the facility is being assessed.

“It’s not about weapons, it’s more facilitation like buildings, mess halls, and stuff like that,” he said. “We are working right now to relocate our people just to make sure that they are safe, and they will be safe if our enemy will use rocket strikes again.”

One resident in Lviv, about 36 miles east of Yavoriv, ​​said Sunday morning was marked by a flurry of sirens from ambulances and police cars throughout the city.

• Ben Wolfgang reported from Washington for this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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