Several missiles have struck and destroyed a building near the airport in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, according to the city’s mayor.
Ukraine’s military said the aircraft repair plant was struck by cruise missiles fired from the direction of the Black Sea, which it said were likely Kh-555 weapons launched from heavy strategic bombers.
The plant was not in operation at the time of the strike and there were no casualties after at least three blasts, mayor Andriy Sadovy said.
Similar long-range cruise missiles are thought to have been used in an airstrike on Yavoriv military base in western Ukraine on Sunday.
Sky’s Alistair Bunkall in Lviv said air raid sirens went off at 6.15am and he heard around three to four explosions 15 minutes later “just as the city was waking up, just as the curfew had lifted”.
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Russian forces ‘tightening the noose’ around Mariupol
Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that separatists in eastern Ukraine with help from Russian armed forces were “tightening the noose” around the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Rescuers have been digging survivors out of the rubble of a theatre which was bombed in a Russian airstrike in the besieged city – which Moscow has denied attacking.
Up to 1,000 men, women and children were thought to have been sheltering in the theatre’s basement for safety after their homes were destroyed during the invasion – and the word “children” had reportedly been displayed in large letters at the site, prior to the attack, warning warplanes to those inside.
Britain’s Armed Forces minister James Heappey told Sky News there are concerns about the “barbaric tactics” being used by the Russians.
“The evidence that is being gathered points very much to war crimes and the culpability lies with the leader of the Russian government – the man who decided to do this in the first place,” he said.
Ukrainian forces continue to ‘frustrate’ Russians – UK MoD
Russian forces “have made minimal progress this week”, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said in its latest update on the war in Ukraine.
“Ukrainian forces around Kyiv and Mykolaiv continue to frustrate Russian attempts to encircle the cities. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain encircled and subject to heavy Russian shelling.
“The UN now states that the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has already surpassed 3.2 million. This number will continue to rise as a result of ongoing Russian aggression.”
General Sir Richard Shirreff, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, told Sky News: “What we have seen is an extraordinarily brave, tenacious, courageous Ukrainian defence – fired by the spirit to defend their country. They have been well-supported by the West with anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft missiles and the like, and they are showing they can use them.
“But we’ve also seen extraordinary incompetence and lack of professionalism by the Russian armed forces. They spread their forces too thin, they’ve failed to support them logistically – they have forgotten that fundamental maxim of war that ‘amateurs talk tactics and professionals talk logistics’. Morale by all accounts among the Russian soldiers is absolutely rock bottom. They were expecting to be greeted by flag-waving crowds and they have been greeted by ferocious defence.”