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At least 35 killed by Russian airstrike on base near Polish border, Ukrainian officials say

LVIV, Ukraine — At least 35 people were killed and 134 people injured when a Russian airstrike hit a military base in western Ukraine about 20 miles from the Polish border, Ukrainian officials said Sunday.

“The airstrike was carried out from the Black and Azov seas,” Lviv regional administration head Maksym Kozytskiy said in a Telegram post, which confirmed the number of dead and injured. He added that around 30 missiles had hit the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in Yavoriv.

NBC News has not independently verified the number of those killed or injured or the missile strikes.

A medic transports a serviceman following an attack on the Yavoriv military base at a hospital in Yavoriv, Ukraine, on March 13, 2022.Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Kozytskiy added an appeal to NATO to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine and to provide military planes. NATO countries, including the United States, have not done so because of concerns that the moves could seriously escalate the conflict with Russia.

“Now that the shelling is approaching the borders of NATO countries, this is the crucial moment,” Kozytskiy said.

The attack came after Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, suggested Saturday that Russian forces could try to destroy foreign shipments of weapons to Ukraine, calling them “legitimate targets.”

The International Center for Peacekeeping and Security regularly hosts American, Canadian and other international instructors who help train the Ukrainian military.

The base is west of the city of Lviv, where thousands have fled amid heavy attacks in the eastern part of the country. Military supply groups told NBC News last week that the six-hour drive from Kyiv to Lviv now takes about a day’s time.

March 13, 202200:22

Both Lviv and other cities along the Polish border have been crucial in allowing for the influx of supplies that allow the Ukrainian military to keep up its fight against Russia.

Russia has continued to expand its military offensive west, with airstrikes Friday on the cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk.

While the country has said it was not targeting civilians, the U.N. Human Rights office said at least 579 civilians had been killed, including 42 children, as of Friday. Another 1,002 civilians were injured, the agency reported.

Anastasiia Parafeniuk reported from Lviv and Joy Y. Wang from London.

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