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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Russia launches rare attack on Lviv, killing 7

At least seven people were killed by Russian missile strikes in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Monday, the city’s first reported deaths from the war.

By Jane Arraf, Austin Ramzy and Cora Engelbrecht

Russian forces launched a rare missile strike Monday on Lviv, Ukraine, killing at least seven people in the first known deaths from the war in the western city that until now had been relatively untouched by violence, according to authorities.

Witnesses reported flames and smoke rising from what appeared to be at least three impact sites on the outskirts of a train complex in the western part of Lviv, which has taken in hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence in the north and east of Ukraine. At least 11 people were injured in the attacks, including a child, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram.

The attack on Lviv came as Russia unleashed a broad series of strikes across Ukraine, hitting what Moscow said were more than 100 military targets in apparent preparation for a major offensive in the east. Russia has unleashed further destruction in recent days on the major eastern cities of Kharkiv and Mariupol, which are seen as crucial to Moscow’s attempt to consolidate control over a large arc of its neighbor after its effort to take Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was blocked.

In Mariupol, a port city devastated by weeks of siege warfare, Russia intensified its bombing of a vast, fortress-like steel plant where a group of Ukrainian fighters remain holed up after rejecting Russian demands to surrender Sunday. The fate of Mariupol, which officials on both sides suggested could soon fall under Russian control, remained unclear and largely dependent on how long the remaining Ukrainian forces could hold out in underground tunnels of the Azovstal steel plant.

Ukrainian forces’ staunch defense of the city has prevented Russia from linking its stronghold of Crimea with eastern Ukraine and has tied up Russian troops who could otherwise expand their assault across the Donbas region, which borders Russia.

Here are some other major developments:

— Russian forces attacked civilian areas of Kharkiv for the third consecutive day, killing at least one person in an artillery strike Monday. On Sunday, a barrage of missiles killed five people in the eastern city, which has been shelled incessantly by Russian forces since the war began.

— Ukrainians, who are 85% Christian, marked major religious holidays Sunday, with the Eastern Orthodox majority celebrating Palm Sunday, and Roman Catholics attending Easter services.

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