Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Russia-Ukraine war UPDATES LIVE: Australia imposes new sanctions against Russian oligarchs

Western officials said the attack at NATO’s doorstep was not merely a geographic expansion of the Russian invasion but a shift of tactics in a war many already worried might metastasise into a larger European conflict.

“He’s expanding the number of targets,” the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, adding that “he’s trying to cause damage in every part of the country.”

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Medics attend to a man who suffered serious injuries after the vehicle he was fleeing in from a village currently under the control of the Russian military hit a mine, at a hospital in Brovary, north of Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, March 13, 2022. Associated Press

In recent days, Russian forces have been broadening their air war right up to the border with Poland, said John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson.

Before Sunday’s attack, Russian missiles also struck airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankovsk, cities in western Ukraine near the Polish border. The airport in Ivano-Frankovsk was struck again Sunday, according to the city’s mayor.

Pentagon and NATO officials reiterated Sunday that they did not intend to directly confront Russian forces in Ukraine. But they are sending military supplies, and Russia has warned that it regards those convoys as legitimate targets.

The military base that was hit, which is called the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, has been a hub for Western military troops to train Ukrainian forces since 2015.

Troops from the United States, Britain, Canada, Poland, Sweden and Denmark have trained 35,000 Ukrainians there under a project called “Operation Unifier.”

But Western nations withdrew their forces before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the base has been used by Ukraine to train and organize the thousands of foreigners who have arrived in the country and volunteered to help defend it.

The Russian missiles struck the base during the predawn hours Sunday.

“They hit us when we were sleeping,” said one of the volunteer fighters, Jesper Söder, a Swede who had arrived at the base three days earlier. “We woke up to them bombing a building.”

At least 35 people were killed and 134 were wounded in the strikes, including both military personnel and civilians, according to Ukrainian officials.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it killed 180 foreign fighters in the strikes. Neither figure could be independently confirmed.

Nation World News Desk
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