Russia launched a deadly missile attack Sunday at a Ukrainian military base just miles away from the Polish border, drawing the conflict much closer to NATO territory than ever before.
Nine were dead and another 57 were injured in the attack which was carried out in the early morning and targeted the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security in northwestern Lviv, located just around 10 miles from the border with Poland, according to Ukraine’s defense minister.
“Russia has attacked the International Center for Peacekeeping & Security near Lviv. Foreign instructors work here. Information about the victims is being clarified,” tweeted the minister, Oleksii Reznikov. “This is new terrorist attack on peace & security near the EU-NATO border. Action must be taken to stop this. Close the sky!”
It remains unclear what nationalities are involved, or whether any foreigners were among the casualties. Photos from early February show US army instructors taking part in drills with at the base with Ukrainian service members, the BBC reported.
Regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said Russian planes fired around 30 rockets at the facility, though some were intercepted before they hit.
U.K. minister Michael Gove called the attack “a significant escalation,” saying: “We know that Vladimir Putin has no moral limits when it comes to the actions he’s willing to take, and he’s pushing the boundaries in military terms.”
The assault came a day after Moscow threatened to take action against Western countries’ continued supply of arms to Ukraine.
“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state television Channel One on Saturday.
Ryabkov added that there could be consequences to the West’s “thoughtless transfer” to Kyiv of weapons such as anti-tank missile systems and portable anti-aircraft missile systems.