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Russian missile strike kills 4 in Lviv, Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian missiles killed at least four people and destroyed dozens of homes in Lviv early Thursday, in what officials called the biggest attack on the western Ukrainian city since the Russia launched its full-scale invasion over 16 months ago.

Authorities said the ages of the victims ranged from 21 to 95 and warned there could still be people trapped under the rubble.

More than 30 people were injured in the pre-dawn strike on Lviv, which lies hundreds of kilometers from the front lines and has largely been spared the worst violence of the war. President Volodymyr Zelensky promised a response, saying on Twitter that it would be a “strong one.”

The Ukrainian military said Russian forces fired 10 Kalibr cruise missiles from aircraft carriers and submarines in the Black Sea. Seven missiles were intercepted, according to the army, and others hit the apartment complex and other sites.

“This is the biggest attack on Lviv’s civilian infrastructure since the start of the full-scale invasion,” Andriy Sadovyi, the city’s mayor, said in a video posted to Twitter that showed him standing in front of wrecked cars, broken windows and scattered debris. in the street. He said more than 50 apartments had been destroyed.

Maksym Kozytskyy, the head of the regional military administration, said critical infrastructure was also damaged, but did not provide details.

At the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Lviv was considered relatively safe given its proximity to the border with NATO member Poland. But he remains well within missile range of Moscow as fighting rages on the front lines.

Throughout the war, Russian forces changed their tactics with missile and drone attacks, testing and trying to exhaust Ukrainian air defense systems. That’s what happened early Thursday, according to Ukraine’s military, which said several clusters of missiles were spotted on radar heading north before “suddenly changing course” to the west.

Hours after the strike, as rescuers and firefighters removed pieces of rubble from the blast site, a crowd of around 100 people had gathered to watch and await police clearance to re-enter the damaged buildings. The air was filled with dust; broken glass crunched underfoot.

Students from a nearby dormitory sat on a ping-pong table, watching the scene. Many were in mismatched clothes, having grabbed whatever they could throw before running for cover when the sirens sounded.

Air raid warnings had started sounding around 1.30am in parts of Ukraine – including the capital, Kyiv – before spreading to other regions. An hour later, the whole country was marked “red” on online alert maps, with the Ukrainian Air Force warning that several missiles were moving west.

The first reports of explosions in Lviv soon followed. Authorities said the air defenses were working and urged residents to stay in shelters.

“It was very loud,” Mr Kozytskyy, the head of the regional administration, wrote on the Telegram app just before 3 a.m., urging people to stay in a safe place.

After the go-ahead was given around 3:20 a.m., ambulance sirens sounded across the city.

Stanislav Kozliuk contributed reporting from Lviv.

nytimes Eur

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