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Ukraine war: Russian missile strikes hit western city of Lviv

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Several missile strikes hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said.

Local residents were told to stay indoors as thick plumes of smoke rose over the city of 700,000, sometimes called Ukraine’s western capital.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said five people were injured in two missile strikes that set fire to an industrial fuel storage facility. Residential areas were not affected, he said.

Governor Maksym Kozytsky reported “three more powerful explosions” about an hour later.

Kozytsky said a man was detained on suspicion of espionage at the scene of one of the attacks.

He said police found that the man had recorded a rocket flying towards the target and hitting it. Police also found photos on his mobile phone of checkpoints in the region, which Kozytsky said had been sent to two Russian phone numbers.

Thick smoke rises over Lviv after airstrike (Reuters)

Mayor Sadovyi said subsequent attacks caused “significant damage” to infrastructure. He told residents to stay inside when an air raid siren sounded.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw smoke over the northeast side of Lviv.

Western Ukraine has been quieter than anywhere else in the country during the war, as Russian forces concentrate in the north, east and south.

Some Russian attacks have hit sites in the Lviv region, according to Ukrainian officials. The aircraft repair plan was affected last Friday, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said.

Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an airstrike in Lviv on Saturday (AFP/Getty)

Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an airstrike in Lviv on Saturday (AFP/Getty)

Two weeks ago, Russian forces fired missiles at a military training center near Lviv, their westernmost target at the time, killing 35 people.

Since the beginning of the invasion, Lviv has become a safe port for some 200,000 displaced Ukrainians. Many have fled to the city on their way to seek refuge in the western countries.

Saturday’s attacks in Lviv, which is 50 miles east of Ukraine’s border with Poland, came as US President Joe Biden was speaking in the Polish capital Warsaw.

Elsewhere in Ukraine on Saturday, Russian forces reportedly entered the northern city of Slavutych and seized a hospital there.

A rocket flies over Lviv on Saturday (EPA)

A rocket flies over Lviv on Saturday (EPA)

Slavutych is located east of Chernihiv, a defeated city that, according to the Ukrainian authorities, had its electricity, heating and water cut off.

Residents said food was running out and they feared “becoming the next Mariupol.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had “blockaded” Ukrainian cities, including Chernihiv, to immobilize the Ukrainian army, while Russia focused on taking control of Donbas.

The scope of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (PA)

The scope of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (PA)

Moscow said on Friday that the first phase of its military operation in Ukraine was “generally” complete and would focus on “liberating” the eastern region, part of which is held by Moscow-backed forces.

A senior US official said attempts to take Ukraine’s capital kyiv had stalled and Russian troops appeared to have defensive positions around the city. He said that the airstrikes in the capital were continuing.

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