Lviv braces for more attacks as it repairs damage from Russian air strikes on power stations
By Jane Arraf
Workers were restoring electricity in Lviv earlier this week after Russian missiles struck power stations, as residents in the relatively safe western Ukrainian city braced for the prospect of more attacks.
The strikes on electrical substations that are part of the railway system knocked out power in 85,000 homes Tuesday night, and workers labored through the night to extinguish fires and repair damage. By Wednesday, about 600 homes were still without electricity.
Maksym Kozytskyy, the military administrator for the Lviv region, said the Russian attack was the most devastating yet on the railway system in the city, which is 40 miles from the Polish border. Russian forces “understand that it’s an international supply route for us and they want to damage it,” he said.
Ukrainian air defenses had intercepted two of the six missiles fired from the Caspian Sea in western and central Ukraine, he said.
The Russian military said Wednesday it destroyed electrical power stations at five railway facilities in Ukraine.
Lviv is a transit point for military and humanitarian supplies coming into the country by rail. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have arrived here seeking refuge from fighting in the east. The missile strikes shattered a relative calm that had prevailed in recent weeks.
At a government building across the street from one of the targeted electrical substations, Yurji Horal, 43, manager of the geological oil and gas exploration branch, walked empty halls as maintenance workers swept up broken glass from shattered windows. The attacks Tuesday had prompted what he described as mild panic.
“Nobody is safe in Ukraine now,” Horal said.
Like many people, Horal said he was afraid Russia would launch attacks around May 9, when it celebrates Victory Day marking the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. Some analysts have predicted President Vladimir Putin of Russia might use the occasion to proclaim that what he has until now called “a special operation” is now an all-out war and step up the military campaign.
Horal said he was planning to go with his wife and young children to stay with relatives in a village about 40 miles from Lviv. “I’m worried about them — and about myself,” he said. “A lot of people I know are talking about it.”
Outside, a security guard named Yuri swept up piles of broken glass with a broom made of tree branches. At the Most Holy Trinity Church nearby, some of the panes were knocked out of the stained glass windows.
Yuri, who asked that his last name not be used, said he had been home Tuesday night during the strikes and his 75-year-old colleague had been on duty, sitting next to a window in a tiny guardhouse next door.
“All the windows were broken behind him and he was sitting just behind a window which didn’t break,” he said. “He is lucky to be alive.”