The mayor of Lviv has accused the Kremlin of genocide after four Russian missiles smashed into the western Ukrainian city on Monday, killing seven people and injuring at least 11.
Andriy Sadovyi said there were no longer any “safe” or “unsafe” areas left in Ukraine. “What we see today is genocide. It’s a deliberate action by the aggressor to kill peaceful civilians,” he said, adding: “All our cities and villages are in the same situation.”
Russia carried out a number of lethal long-range air strikes early on Monday against what it claimed were military targets. The attacks came amid expectations of a major offensive by Moscow over the coming days in the east and the industrial Donbas region.
Sadovyi said one of the rockets struck a Lviv garage and tire repair workshop, killing four people. Others were injured including a child, with two adults critically hurt. Nearby windows were blown out including in a school, he said.
Maksym Kozytskyy, the head of Lviv’s regional military administration, said the strikes were part of a “cynical and inhuman” pattern by the Russian government and its military.
They were trying to intimidate Ukraine by going after civilians, the mayor said, adding: “Look at what’s going on in Mariupol. Thousands of innocent people were killed. What we have seen in Bucha and Hostomel is horrible.”
The Russian opposition politician Ivan Zhdanov said the bombing in Lviv made no military sense. He said the Kalibr missile fired from thousands of kilometers away cost $6.5m (£5m) and had landed on a tire workshop. “What’s the logic here? Are they complete morons?” I have tweeted.
Russia has previously bombed more plausible targets in and around Lviv including a tank repair factory and a military base. The Unesco-listed city famous for its baroque and neo-classical architecture has been largely spared the Syria-style destruction suffered by Mariupol, Kharkiv and towns on the Donbas frontline.
Lviv is a temporary home to several hundred thousand people displaced by fighting from other parts of Ukraine. It is also a logistical hub for western arms deliveries sent via Poland. “We are using all possible routes to supply weapons to our army,” Kozytskyy said.
In a statement Russia’s defense ministry said air-launched missiles had wiped out Ukrainian ammunition dumps. It said it had targeted areas across the country including the cities of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia, as well as the Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions and the southern port of Mykolaiv.
Sadovyi, a one-time presidential candidate, said Vladimir Putin was determined to subjugate the whole of Ukraine. “We have to kick the enemy from our land,” he said. They want to turn us into slaves. We will fight to the last drop of blood because we are Ukrainians.”
He said the west had to understand that war in Ukraine went beyond the fate of one country and was between totalitarian and democratic systems. “We are defending everyone. Germany, Poland, Lithuania. We’re taking the hit but the same missile tomorrow could be flying to a different country.”
He continued: “We have to be a fist. We have to punch the enemy so hard that he cannot be an aggressor for the next 50 years.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism