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Three powerful explosions heard near Ukraine's western Lviv city: Governor

Russia continues to pound cities throughout Ukraine explosions rang out Saturday near the western city of Lviv, a destination for refugees that has been largely spared from major attacks

Three powerful explosions heard near Ukraine's western Lviv city: Governor

AP Lviv
Nights are spent huddling underground from Russian strikes pounding their encircled city into rubble. Daylight hours are devoted to hunting down drinkable water and braving the risk of standing in line for the little food available as shells and bombs rain down.
In the second month of Russia's invasion, this is what now passes for life in Chernihiv, a besieged city in northern Ukraine where death is everywhere.
Russia continues to pound cities throughout Ukraine explosions rang out Saturday near the western city of Lviv, a destination for refugees that has been largely spared from major attacks.
And Chernihiv isn't quite as synonymous with atrocious human suffering as the pulverized southern city of Mariupol. But similarly blockaded and pounded from afar by Russian troops, Chernihiv's remaining residents are terrified that each blast, bomb and body that lies uncollected on the streets ensnares them in the same macabre trap of unescapable killings and destruction.
In basements at night, everyone is talking about one thing: Chernihiv becoming (the) next Mariupol, said 38-year-old resident Ihar Kazmerchak, a linguistics scholar.
He spoke to The Associated Press by cellphone, amid incessant beeps signalling that his battery was dying. The city is without power, running water and heating. At pharmacies, the lists of medicines no longer available grow longer by the day.
Kazmerchak starts his day in long lines for drinking water, rationed to 10 litres (2 1/2 gallons) per person. People come with empty bottles and buckets for filling when water-delivery trucks make their rounds.
"Food is running out, and shelling and bombing doesn't stop, he said.
Nestled between the Desna and Dnieper rivers, Chernihiv straddles one of the main roads that Russian troops invading from Belarus used Feb 24 for what the Kremlin hoped would be a lightning strike onward to the capital, Kyiv, which is just 147 km (91 miles) away.
The city's peace shattered, more than half of the 280,000 inhabitants fled, according to the mayor, unable to be sure when they'd next see its magnificent gold-domed cathedral and other cultural treasures, or even if they still would be standing whenever they return. The mayor, Vladyslav Atroshenko, estimates Chernihiv's death toll from the war to be in the hundreds.
Russian forces have bombed residential areas from low altitude in absolutely clear weather" and "are deliberately destroying civilian infrastructure schools, kindergartens, churches, residential buildings and even the local football stadium, Atroshenko told Ukrainian television.
On Wednesday, Russian bombs destroyed Chernihiv's main bridge over the Desna River on the road leading to Kyiv; on Friday, artillery shells rendered the remaining pedestrian bridge impassable, cutting off the last possible route for people to get out or for food and medical supplies to get in.
Refugees from Chernihiv who fled the encirclement and reached Poland this week spoke of broad and terrible destruction, with bombs flattening at least two schools in the city centre and strikes also hitting the stadium, museums, kindergartens and many homes.
They said that with utilities knocked out, people are taking water from the Desna to drink and that strikes are killing people while they wait in line for food. Volodymyr Fedorovych, 77, said he narrowly escaped a bomb that fell on a bread line he had been standing in just moments earlier. He said the blast killed 16 people and injured dozens, blowing off arms and legs.
So intense is the siege that some of those trapped cannot even muster the strength to be afraid anymore, Kazmerchak said.
Ravaged houses, fires, corpses in the street, huge aircraft bombs that didn't explode in courtyards are not surprising anyone anymore, he said. People are simply tired of being scared and don't even always go down to the basements.
With the invasion now in its second month, Russian forces have seemingly stalled on many fronts and are even losing previously taken ground to Ukrainian counter-attacks, including around Kyiv.
The Russians have bombed the capital from the air but not taken or surrounded the city. US and French defense officials say Russian troops appear to have adopted defensive positions outside Kyiv.
On Saturday, several powerful explosions rang out near Lviv and air raid sirens sounded, the regional governor, Maxym Kozytsky, said on Facebook. He didn't say what was struck.
The city of over 700,000 roughly 45 miles east of Ukraine's border with Poland has been largely spared of major attacks in recent weeks, though Russian forces fired missiles on a military training centre near Lviv two weeks ago that killed 35 people.
The city has become kind of a safe harbour for many Ukrainians fleeing their ravaged cities and towns, with an estimated 200,000 of them thought to be sheltering there.
But with Russia continuing to strike and encircle urban populations, from Chernihiv and Kharkiv in the north to Mariupol in the south, Ukrainian authorities said Saturday that they cannot trust statements from the Russian military Friday suggesting that the Kremlin planned to concentrate its remaining strength on wresting the entirety of Ukraine's eastern Donbas region from Ukrainian control. The region has been partially controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.
We cannot believe the statements from Moscow because there's still a lot of untruth and lies from that side," Markian Lubkivskyi, an adviser to the Ukrainian defense minister, told the BBC. That's why we understand the goal of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin still is the whole of Ukraine.
Poland's deputy foreign minister, Marcin Przydacz, expressed hope that Putin may be casting around for some kind of a face-saving exit strategy.
Definitely, Russia has not achieved its goals. It has not seized Kyiv, it has not changed the government of Ukraine, Przydacz told the BBC. And that is only because of the fact that the Ukrainian army is doing so well.
Britain's defence ministry said Saturday that it does not expect a reprieve for citizens of Ukraine's bombarded cities any time soon.
Russia will continue to use its heavy firepower on urban areas as it looks to limit its own already considerable losses, at the cost of further civilian casualties. the UK ministry said.
Previous bombings of hospitals and other non-military sites, including a theater in Mariupol where Ukrainian authorities said a Russian airstrike is believed to have killed some 300 people last week, already have given rise to war crime allegations.
Mariupol resident Maria Radionova, 27, said she was standing at the entrance of the Mariupol Drama Theatre, when it was hit. From the city of Zaporizhzhia, to where some residents were evacuated, she described a scene of confusion, anguish and grief.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 26 2022 | 9:32 PM IST

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