Thursday, August 11, 2022
Home Woman business Russian attack of Ukraine base brings war to NATO’s doorstep

Russian attack of Ukraine base brings war to NATO’s doorstep

Russian missiles hit a large Ukrainian base near the border with NATO member Poland on Sunday, killing 35 people and wounding 134, a local official said, in an escalation of the war to the west of the country as intense fighting was reported elsewhere.

Russia’s defense ministry said the air strike had destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by foreign nations that were being stored at the sprawling training facility, and that it had killed “up to 180 foreign mercenaries.”

Reuters could not independently verify the casualties reported by either side.

Read more:

U.S. journalist killed, one other wounded in north Ukraine

The attack on the Yavoriv International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security, a base just 15 miles (25 km) from the Polish border that has previously hosted NATO military instructors, brought the conflict to the doorstep of the Western defense alliance.

Story continues below advertisement

Russia had warned on Saturday that convoys of Western arms shipments to Ukraine could be considered legitimate targets.

Britain said the incident marked a “significant escalation” of the conflict. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said any attack on NATO territory would trigger a full response by the alliance.

Russian defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said Russia had used high-precision, long-range weapons to strike Yavoriv and a separate facility in the village of Starichi.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Russia showing signs of interest in peace talks, U.S. official says'

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Russia showing signs of interest in peace talks, U.S. official says

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Russia showing signs of interest in peace talks, U.S. official says

“As a result of the strike, up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large amount of foreign weapons were destroyed,” he said.

The 360-square km (140-square mile) facility is one of Ukraine’s biggest and is the largest in the western part of the country, which has so far been spared the worst of the fighting.

Story continues below advertisement

Ukraine, whose aspirations to join NATO are a major irritant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, held most of its drills with Western countries at the base before the invasion. The last major exercises were in September.

Read more:

Zelenskyy warns Russia looking to make ‘pseudo-republic’ in Ukraine’s south

In the weeks before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, the Ukrainian military trained there, but according to Ukrainian media all foreign instructors left in mid-February, leaving behind equipment.

“The dining room and dormitory were destroyed. So were the barracks,” said Colonel Leonid Benzalo, an officer in the Ukrainian medical reserve who was thrown across the room by one of the blasts. “The most important thing is we’re still alive,” he told Reuters after treating the wounded there.

While Western nations have sought to isolate Putin by imposing harsh economic sanctions and have been supplying Ukraine with weapons, the United States and its allies are concerned to avoid NATO being drawn into the conflict.

“There are no NATO personnel in Ukraine,” the NATO official said, when asked if anyone from the alliance was at the base.

A Ukrainian firefighter extinguishes fire inside a large food products storage facility which was destroyed by an airstrike in the early morning hours on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 13, 2022.

AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Read more:

Russian missile strikes kill 35 at Ukrainian military training base near Polish border

Story continues below advertisement


Heavy fighting was reported on multiple fronts.

Air raid sirens wailed once again across the capital Kyiv and authorities said they were stockpiling two weeks worth of essential food items for the 2 million people who have not yet fled from Russian forces attempting to encircle the city.

Ukraine reported renewed air strikes on an airport in the west and heavy shelling on Chernihiv northeast of the capital.

Interior Ministry official Vadym Denyenko said Ukrainian forces were counterattacking in the eastern Kharkiv region and around the southern town of Mykolayiv. Reuters was not able to verify those statements.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukraine government insists it won’t give up as casualties mount'

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukraine government insists it won’t give up as casualties mount

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukraine government insists it won’t give up as casualties mount

An American journalist was shot and killed by Russian forces in the town of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, and another journalist was wounded, the regional police chief said.

Story continues below advertisement

Despite the violence, both sides gave their most upbeat assessment yet of the prospects for progress at bilateral talks that have been held periodically since the start of the invasion.

“Russia is already beginning to talk constructively,” Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a video posted online. “I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days.”

A Russian delegate to talks with Ukraine, Leonid Slutsky, was quoted by RIA news agency as saying they had made significant progress and it was possible the delegations could soon reach draft agreements.

Read more:

ANALYSIS: Trudeau is home from Europe. What did he accomplish on Ukraine?

Neither side said what these would cover. Three rounds of talks between the two sides in Belarus, most recently last Monday, had focused mainly on humanitarian issues.

But there were contradictory statements on the timing of new discussions. Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych told national television “talks are continuing right now.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied this, saying talks were planned for Monday via video link.

Seeking to up the ante on the increasingly sanctions-hit Russian economy, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a Twitter post, called on U.S. software firms Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and Oracle Corp ORCL.N and German business software group SAP SAPG.DE to halt support services in Russia.

Story continues below advertisement

Click to play video: 'Rising fuel prices a ‘big challenge for many Canadians’: Wilkinson'

Rising fuel prices a ‘big challenge for many Canadians’: Wilkinson

Rising fuel prices a ‘big challenge for many Canadians’: Wilkinson


In the weeks since the invasion began, Russia has asked China — which has not condemned the assault on Ukraine — for military equipment, the Financial Times and Washington Post cited unnamed U.S. officials as saying.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington said he had not heard of such a request and that the priority was to prevent the situation “from escalating or even getting out of control.”

Russia’s invasion has sent more than 2.5 million people fleeing across Ukraine’s borders and trapped hundreds of thousands in besieged cities.

“It is terrifying how violent and inhuman it is,” Olga, a refugee from Kyiv, told Reuters after crossing into Romania.

Ukraine’s human rights monitor said Russia used phosphorous bombs in an overnight attack on the town of Popasna in the eastern Luhansk region, calling it a “war crime.” She shared a photograph purporting to show the alleged attack, but did not say if Ukraine had concrete evidence. Reuters could not immediately verify any of the reports.

Story continues below advertisement

Phosphorus munitions can be used legally in war to provide light, create smokescreens or burn buildings. But its use in populated areas has been a persistent source of controversy.

A view of destroyed apartments damaged by shelling, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 13, 2022.

AP Photo/Andrew Marienko

Read more:

Russia-Ukraine conflict: Are we in the undertow of an inevitably wider war?

In eastern Ukraine, Russian troops were trying to surround Ukrainian forces as they advance from the port of Mariupol in the south and the second city Kharkiv in the north, the British Defence Ministry said.

The city council in Mariupol said in a statement that 2,187 residents had been killed since the start of the invasion. Reuters was not able to verify that toll.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, has suffered some of the heaviest bombardment. Videos from one resident, Teimur Aliev, showed bombed buildings lining streets, burned-out cars riddled with shrapnel holes and debris strewn around.

Story continues below advertisement

“We will stitch up the wounds and the pain of our country and our city. We are ready to build it and we are ready to renew it when the war is over. We’re not going anywhere,” said Aliev, a 23-year-old musician.

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian authorities publish CCTV footage showing abduction of Melitopol mayor'

Ukrainian authorities publish CCTV footage showing abduction of Melitopol mayor

Ukrainian authorities publish CCTV footage showing abduction of Melitopol mayor

In Chernihiv, around 150 km (100 miles) northeast of Kyiv, firefighters rescued residents from a burning building after heavy shelling, video from Ukraine’s emergency service — and verified by Reuters — showed.

Moscow denies targeting civilians. It blames Ukraine for failed attempts to evacuate civilians from encircled cities, an accusation Ukraine and its Western allies strongly reject.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on national television that more than 140,000 people had been evacuated from conflict zones, but that a humanitarian convoy had been unable to reach Mariupol due to shelling.

Story continues below advertisement

The Kremlin describes its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarize and “deNazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies call this a baseless pretext for a war of choice.

© 2022 Reuters

Most Popular

‘Too close to home’: Man shot and killed in Surrey taxi was known to police

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has identified the victim of the latest shooting in Surrey where a taxi driver was also hit. David Chavez-Jara, 30,...

Alberta fishing community mourns death of passionate angler

The fishing community in southern Alberta is mourning the loss of avid fisherman and vlogger, Rajesh John. “He always was just amazed by every fish,...

Saskatchewan NDP calls for removal of PST for restaurants, children’s clothing

The Saskatchewan NDP are once again urging the provincial government to look at the cost of living for residents in the province. “It’s been nearly...

Hamilton woman arrested, facing charge in armed robbery at Grimsby gas station

Niagara police say one of four suspects connected with an armed robbery at a Grimsby, Ont. gas station, in which an employee was shot...