Ukraine: Russia launches reported missile attack on military base near Lviv — live updates

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  • NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says he expects the situation to worsen in Ukraine
  • Zelenskyy warns of new pro-Russia “pseudo republics” in Ukraine
  • Humanitarian corridors, aid expected in Mariupol
  • Military base near Lviv reportedly targeted by Russian attack

To catch up on Saturday’s developments on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

This article was last updated at 09:20 UTC/GMT

Germany sends tons of food to Ukraine

Germany has sent more than 440 tons of food to Ukraine via a new initiative, the government said.

Several German trading and food firms sent water, juice, canned fish and other items to Ukrainian regions in dire need of assistance. 

“Every day we receive new reports of further terrible destruction. Solidarity with Ukraine and its people is a matter of honor,” German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir told German news agency dpa. “We are doing everything we can to help people in the war zones.”

Russia attempting to ‘envelop’ Ukrainian troops in country’s east

The UK’s Defense Ministry (MOD) said Russian forces are attempting to “envelop” Ukrainian troops in the eastern parts of the country “as they advance from Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south.” 

The British MOD said “Russia is paying a high price for each advance as the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to offer staunch resistance across the country.”

Missile attack reported near Lviv

An area outside the major western Ukrainian city of Lviv was reportedly targeted by a missile attack early Sunday. 

Eight missiles are believed to have been fired at Ukraine’s Center for International Peacekeeping and Security, according to Lviv’s Regional Military Administration on Telegram. The center is located in Yavoriv, not far from the Polish border and some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Lviv.

Lviv regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said nine people had died and 57 were wounded from the strike, according to Reuters news agency.

The strike on the center could possibly be a Russian message intended for NATO. The US and other NATO countries previously conducted training exercises with the Ukrainian military at the center called Rapid Trident 21, according to the US Army website.

A Ukrainian general cited by the US army website said the Rapid Trident 21 exercises held at the Yavoriv center were “not just another stage of military skills improvement, but also an important step towards Ukraine’s European integration.”

Ukraine’s defense minister said in a tweet that “foreign instructors” work at the training center.

The mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ruslan Martsinkiv, said on Facebook that the western Ukrainian city’s airport was also targeted in an attack early Sunday. 

Reports: Russia installs new mayor in Melitopol 

According to media reports, a new mayor has been installed in southeastern Ukraine’s Melitopol city after the previous mayor Ivan Fedorov was reportedly abducted by Russian troops. 

Galina Danilchenko was introduced on local TV as the newly installed mayor, local media reported. CNN also cited a statement on the Zaporizhzhia regional administration website. 

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said the abduction of the elected mayor was a gross violation of international law and a “war crime under the Geneva Conventions.”

“The perpetrators of this and other crimes will be brought to the strictest responsibility,” said the ministry in a Facebook post. 

NATO chief warns against ‘possible’ Russian plan to use chemical weapons

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expects a further intensification of the fighting and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, he told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag

He said Ukrainians were resisting Russian forces with courage and determination, but the coming days could get worse.  

Stoltenberg also dismissed recent “absurd claims” by Moscow that the US was secretly operating laboratories in Ukraine to make chemical and biological weapons.

“Now that these false allegations have been made, we must remain vigilant, because it is possible that Russia itself could be conducting missions with chemical weapons under this tissue of lie,” he said.  

He also rejected calls for NATO to impose and enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. “That could mean a direct confrontation and escalation. We need to end this war, not let it expand,” he added.  

As a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said: “End this war, withdraw all your forces back and commit to diplomacy.”  

Zelenskyy warns of new pro-Russia ‘pseudo republics’ in Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed fellow Ukrainians in an online speech and reiterated their right to live in their land on their own terms.

Zelenskyy also said Russian forces would create new people’s republics in captured territories, similar to those operating in Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014. Moscow recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” immediately before its invasion of Ukraine.

“The occupiers on the territory of the Kherson region are trying to repeat the sad experience of the formation of pseudo republics,” Zelenskyy said.

“They are blackmailing local leaders, putting pressure on deputies, looking for someone to bribe,” he added.

Zelenskyy said such “pseudo republics” would end up being isolated from the rest of the world and face poverty, crime and exodus.

Zelenskyy said the withdrawal of IT professionals, businesses and artists from Russia was the fate that awaited Donetsk and Luhansk as well.

Towns and villages in the Kherson region have been under occupation by Russian troops since the first days of the war.

Urging Ukrainians to continue their fight, he said they would regain what is theirs. “Ukraine will not forget. Ukraine will find and prosecute,” he said.

Zelenskyy said the agreed-upon humanitarian corridors worked and that aid would be arriving in Mariupol on Sunday. 

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Saturday

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron urged an immediate cease-fire during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Elysee Palace called the call “very frank and difficult.” The Kremlin said Putin “informed the leaders about the real state of affairs.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and discussed prospects for peace talks with Putin.

Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence said “the bulk of Russian ground forces” were about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the center of Kyiv. “If they decide to carpet bomb [Kyiv], and simply erase the history of this region … and destroy all of us, then they will enter Kyiv. If that’s their goal, let them come in, but they will have to live on this land by themselves,” Zelenskyy said.

About 13,000 people were evacuated from a number of Ukrainian cities on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. It is almost twice the number who managed to get out on Friday.

Satellite images from before and after Russia’s attacks show significant destruction of civilian infrastructure in the port city of Mariupol. Russian forces advanced Saturday into the city’s eastern outskirts, but Ukraine says it was still in charge of the city. 

US President Joe Biden has authorized $200 million (Є183 million) in additional weapons and other assistance for Ukraine, the White House has said.

Russia warned that Western arms shipments to Ukraine were now “legitimate” military targets. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russian troops could target supplies. 

Der Spiegel reported Saturday that Germany was to set up a task force to help enforce sanctions against Russian oligarchs. Several countries, including Italy, France and the UK, have already seized assets belonging to Russian billionaires. 

lo,wd/fb (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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