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Russia escalates offensive in western Ukraine

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia missiles pounded a military base in western Ukraine on Sunday, killing 35 people in an attack on a facility that served as a crucial hub for cooperation between Ukraine and the NATO countries supporting its defense. The barrage marked an escalation of Moscow’s offensive and moved the fighting perilously close to the Polish border.

Read 1 Killed in residential building attack as Russian forces persist

The attack so near a NATO member-country raised the possibility that the alliance could be drawn into the fight, and was heavy with symbolism in a conflict that has revived old Cold War rivalries and threatened to rewrite the current international security order.

More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted the sprawling facility at Yavoriv, which has long been used to train Ukrainian soldiers, often with instructors from the United States and other countries in the Western alliance. Poland is also a transit route for Western military aid to Ukraine, and the strikes followed Moscow’s threats to target those shipments.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it a “black day,” and again urged NATO leaders to establish a no-fly zone over the country, a plea that the West has said could escalate the war to a nuclear confrontation.

“If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory. NATO territory. On the homes of citizens of NATO countries,” Zelenskyy said.

In addition to the fatalities, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that 134 people were wounded in the attack.

Ina Padi, a 40-year-old Ukrainian who crossed the border with her family, was taking shelter at a fire station in Wielkie Oczy, Poland, when she was awakened by blasts Sunday morning that made the glass in the windows shake.

“I understood in that moment, even if we are free of it, (the war) is still coming after us,” she said.

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Since their invasion more than two weeks ago, Russian forces have struggled in their advance across Ukraine, in the face of stiffer than expected resistance, bolstered by Western weapons support. Instead, Russian forces have besieged several cities and pummeled them with strikes, hitting two dozen medical facilities and leading to a series of humanitarian crises.

Russian airstrike escalates offensive in western Ukraine  The Associated Press – en Español

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