Russia Ukraine invasion explained

Russia has escalated attacks in western Ukraine, striking a military base where its troops had trained with NATO forces and bringing the conflict closer to Poland and other members of the bloc.

The Ukrainians said that over 30 cruise missiles were fired at the base located 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of regional hub Lviv, killing at least nine people and wounding 57. No further information on the casualties was immediately available.

A day earlier, a senior Russian diplomat said Moscow had warned the United States that it considered foreign shipments of military equipment to Ukraine “legitimate targets,” and thus fair game for attack.

It was unclear immediately what the base was being used for. US President Joe Biden has announced an additional aid to Ukraine of up to $200 million for weapons, military services, education and training — atop $6.5 billion of military aid already approved.

The strike comes a day after Russia bombarded cities across Ukraine, pounding Mariupol in the south, shelling the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, and thwarting the efforts of people trying to flee the violence.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also accused Russia of trying to create new “pseudo-republics” to break his country apart. He called on Ukraine’s regions not to repeat the experience of two eastern areas where pro-Russian separatists began fighting Ukrainian forces in 2014.

As Russian units fanned out to prepare for an assault on Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, Zelenskyy said Russia would need to carpet-bomb the city and kill its residents to take it.

Now in its third week, the war has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee Ukraine.

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Russia-Ukraine war: Key things to know about the conflict. #UkraineRussia #UkraineInvasion #ukraineconflict

Russian shelling of this Ukrainian port city of 430,000 has been relentless, and the mayor’s office says more than 1,500 have died since the siege began. Russian forces hammered the city’s downtown on Saturday as residents hid.

Repeated attempts to bring food to Mariupol and evacuate civilians have been canceled due to ongoing Russian fire. The unceasing shelling has even interrupted efforts to bury the dead in mass graves.

On Saturday, a Ukrainian official said Russian soldiers blocked a humanitarian convoy headed for Mariupol and stole from another. Doctors Without Borders said some residents are dying for lack of medication, with the city without drinking water or medicine for over a week now. The aid group says people are resorting to boiling water from the ground or extracted from heating pipes.

Ukraine’s military said Russian forces captured Mariupol’s eastern outskirts. Taking Mariupol and other ports on the Azov Sea would be strategic for Russian President Vladimir Putin, as it could allow Russia to establish a land corridor to Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.


An Associated Press journalist witnessed tanks firing on a 9-story apartment block in Mariupol and was with a group of medical workers who came under sniper fire on Friday. Conditions at a local hospital there were deteriorating, electricity was reserved for operating tables and the hallways were lined with people with nowhere else to go.

Anastasiya Erashova wept and trembled as she held a sleeping child. Shelling had just killed her other child as well as her brother’s child. “No one was able to save them,” she said.

In Irpin, on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv, bodies laid in the open in a park and on a street Saturday. Residents said they had no information about what or where was safe as shooting echoed.

Some residents huddled in a pitch-dark basement for shelter, unsure where they could go and how they would get food if they left. Others were on the move, toting luggage across planks to get over a waterway where a bridge had been damaged. Armed men carried one older man on a stretcher.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, a recently retired professional tennis player from Ukraine, said he left his wife and three young children at home in Hungary to return to Ukraine and fight. He told The Associated Press that he would never have imagined to be in his home city with a gun in his hands.


In the northeast, Russian forces were blockading Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, even as efforts have been made to create new humanitarian corridors around it and other urban centers.

In multiple areas around Kyiv, heavy artillery fire sent residents scurrying for shelter as air raid sirens wailed. An ammunition depot outside the city was shelled overnight, sending billowing black smoke into the sky, according to video provided by emergency workers.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russian ground forces that had been north of Kyiv for most of the war had edged to within 25 kilometers (15 miles) of the city center and spread out, likely to support an attempted encirclement.

Russian airstrikes also again hit the airport in Ivano-Frankivsk, another city in western Ukraine south of Lviv and 250 kilometers away from Ukraine’s border with NATO members Slovakia and Hungary. The city’s Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv, who reported the strikes on the airport on Sunday, said Russia’s goal was “to sow panic and fear.” The airport has a military area.


Ukraine’s chief prosecutor’s office says at least 85 children have been killed since the invasion began on Feb. 24, and over 100 wounded. At least 2.5 million people have fled the country, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

About 60 child cancer patients from Ukraine boarded a medical train Saturday in Medyka, Poland, bound for hospitals in Warsaw and elsewhere. Medical workers carried some of the children in their arms, on stretchers and pushed them in wheelchairs at the train station near the Ukrainian border.

Dominik Daszuta, an anesthesiologist from Warsaw Hospital, said the train has transported 120 children with cancer so far.

Ukraine’s defense ministry said Saturday that Russian forces shelled a convoy of refugees fleeing Peremoha, a village about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Kyiv, killing seven people including a child.

The seven were among hundreds of people who tried to flee Peremoha. An unknown number of people were wounded, the report added.

Moscow has said it would establish humanitarian corridors out of conflict zones, but Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of disrupting those paths and firing on civilians.

Associated Press

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