NATO Has a Problem: Russian Airstrike Hits Ukrainian Base Near Polish Border – Russian aircraft fired 30 cruise missiles at a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border, early on Sunday, that killed at least 35 people and wounded as many as 300 including both military and civilians.
Fires were still raging at the base five hours after the attack as ambulances raced in and out of the base taking the wounded to area hospitals. The main target of the attack on the sprawling base, one of Ukraine’s largest and located in the western part of the country was the Yavoriv International Center for Peacekeeping and Security.
Eight missiles were launched at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, an integrated logistics hub and training center for foreign military trainers in the western part of the country, Colonel Anton Myronovych, a spokesman for the Armed Forces of Ukraine told the news media.
It is also the location of the logistical lifeline that the US and NATO countries from the West were funneling arms, ammunition, and humanitarian supplies into Ukraine to aid their fight against the Russian invasion. It is also the place where foreign fighters flocking to aid Ukraine are being trained and equipped.
Colonel Myronovych told the New York Times in an interview on Friday that “up to a thousand foreigners” were being trained at the base.
“The most skillful, well-prepared foreigners have already been deployed to the front line and they are attached to the units of the armed forces of Ukraine,” he said.
This base was where foreign military trainers were located, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said but didn’t specify whether any foreign troops were present during the attack. American Special Forces and National Guard troops were located at the base until mid-February and withdrawn just prior to the Russian invasion.
“Russia has attacked the International Center for Peacekeeping & Security near Lviv. Foreign instructors work here. Information about the victims is being clarified,” Reznikov said in a social media post.
“This is a new terrorist attack on peace and security near the EU-NATO border. Action must be taken to stop this. Close the sky!” he added.
The large base at Yaroviv is located 35 miles from the western city of Lviv and just 15 miles from the Polish border. Ukrainian forces said that they shot down 22 of the 30 cruise missiles, but many got through and exacted a heavy toll on the base.
“The air defense system worked, a number of them were shot down,” Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the Lviv regional military administration said at a news conference. He repeated the calls that Ukraine keeps asking NATO to establish a no-fly zone, which has been rejected thus far to avoid an escalation of hostilities.
Russia Says Convoys Bringing Arms to Ukraine “Legitimate Targets”:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov issued a warning on Saturday that Russia could attack foreign shipments of military equipment to Ukraine. He said sending equipment is “an action that makes those convoys legitimate targets.”
“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,” he said in a statement to Russian state television.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky exhorted his Ukrainian countrymen to keep fighting against the Russian invasion
“The resistance of the entire Ukrainian people against these invaders has already gone down in history,” Zelensky said. “But we have no right to reduce the intensity of defense. No matter how difficult it is. We have no right to reduce the energy of resistance. The enemy is bringing new and new columns to the territory of Ukraine. They are looking everywhere for fighters, reservists, conscripts, mercenaries.”
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.