Lviv, about 40 miles from the Polish border has been a safe haven city for Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee from the Russian invasion. The attacks on the western areas of the country have been rare thus far during the invasion. However, the Russians hit a sprawling military base outside of Lviv on Sunday.
In the airstrike on Friday, six cruise missiles were fired at the city, according to Maksym Kozytsky, the regional military administrator. Ukrainian air defense systems shot down two of the missiles and the remaining four seem to have been targeted on areas around the airport located about 4 miles from the city’s center.
A facility at the airport is the only one in the country that is used for fixing and refurbishing MiG-29s used by the Ukrainian Air Force. There were no fatalities in the attack, although one person was injured in the airstrike. Lviv’s mayor Andriy Sadoviy said that a bus repair facility was also damaged in the airstrike.
Mayor Sadovy added that the aircraft repair building was destroyed in the airstrike, but operations had already been suspended at the facility. However, there was no damage to the Danylo Halytskyi International Airport, which was not targeted in the airstrike. Videos broadcast on social media websites showed large explosions and a large mushroom cloud rising from the missile strikes.
Putin Lashes Out at Russians Protesting the War:
Russian President Vladimir Putin, evoked visions of Stalinist purges when he showed frustration over some members of the population who are protesting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin’s comments were a stark reminder that the country is ruled by an authoritarian ruler, who doesn’t welcome nor tolerate any dissent from his policies.
“The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like an insect in their mouth onto the pavement,” Putin said in a national address.
Putin added that the West was looking for “fifth columnists” to destroy Russia from within as he insists that the US and the West are responsible for the ongoing bloody war that is unfolding in Ukraine.
“Of course, they (Western Europe and the US) will try to bet on the so-called fifth column, on traitors – on those who earn their money here but live over there. Live, not in the geographical sense, but in the sense of their thoughts, their slavish thinking,” he said to members of his government.
“I am convinced that such a natural and necessary cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion, and readiness to respond to any challenges,” Putin said, which reminded many of the purges that Stalin brought upon his own people, when real or imagined threats against his regime resulted in millions of arrests, and the “cleansing” of any dissent from within.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tried to spin Putin’s comments into Russians leaving the country in protest of the Ukraine invasion was cleansing the country of traitors.
“In such difficult times … many people show their true colors. Very many people are showing themselves, as we say in Russian, to be traitors,” Peskov said in a conference call to media members.
“They vanish from our lives themselves,” he added. “Some people are leaving their posts. Some are leaving their active work life. Some leave the country and move to other countries. That is how this cleansing happens.”
In another throwback to Communist times, a Committee in Defense of National Interests published an online list of Russians who left the country — denouncing them as “cowards and deserters.”
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.