Ukraine: Multiple explosions rock Lviv as a huge plume of smoke billows over the city

Multiple rocket attacks hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said.

Local residents were told to stay indoors as thick plumes of smoke billowed over the city of 700,000, sometimes dubbed Ukraine’s western capital.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said five people were injured in two rocket attacks that set fire to an industrial fuel storage facility. Residential areas are not affected, he said.

Governor Maksym Kozytsky reported “three more powerful explosions” about an hour later.

Mr Sadovyi said the subsequent strikes had caused “significant damage” to infrastructure. He urged residents to stay indoors when an air raid siren sounded.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw smoke over the northeastern side of Lviv.

Dense smoke rises after an air raid over Lemberg

(Reuters)

Western Ukraine was mostly quieter than elsewhere in the country during the war, as Russian forces were concentrated in the north, east, and south.

According to Ukrainian officials, some Russian attacks have hit locations in the Lviv region. An aircraft repair plant was hit last Friday, said Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi.

Two weeks ago, Russian forces fired rockets at a military training center near Lviv – which was their westernmost target at the time – killing 35 people.

Dark smoke and flames rise from a fire following an airstrike in Lviv on Saturday

(AFP/Getty)

Since the invasion began, Lviv has become a safe haven for around 200,000 displaced Ukrainians. Many have fled on their way to the city, seeking refuge in countries to the west.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian forces reportedly entered the northern city of Slavutych on Saturday and seized a hospital there.

A rocket flies over Lviv on Saturday

(EPA)

Slavutych is east of Chernihiv, a besieged town that Ukrainian authorities said had been cut off from electricity, heating and water.

Residents said food was running out and they feared “becoming the next Mariupol.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces had “blockaded” Ukrainian cities, including Chernihiv, to tie down the Ukrainian military while Russia focused on seizing control of Donbass.

(PA)

Moscow said on Friday the first phase of its military operation in Ukraine was “generally” complete and would focus on “liberating” the eastern region, parts of which are held by Moscow-backed forces.

A senior US official said attempts to take Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, had stalled and Russian troops appeared to have defensive positions around the city. He said airstrikes on the capital would continue.

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