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Russia Launches Missile Attack on Ukraine Military Base

A woman carries her cat near a destroyed bridge as she flees from her hometown on the road towards Kyiv, in the town of Irpin, some 25 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, March 12, 2022.

Ukrainian officials say Russia launched a missile attack early Sunday on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security, a military base in western Ukraine near the country’s border with Poland. NATO troops in Poland are just a scant 25 kilometers away.

The New York Times reports some of the missiles were intercepted, but other missiles hit the base, causing casualties, but officials have not released any details.

Reuters reports that the military base is “one Ukraine's biggest, and the largest in the western part of the country” and is the location where “Ukraine holds most of its drills with NATO countries.”

Russia’s military continued to pound cities across Ukraine on Saturday with artillery and airstrikes.

Ukrainian officials said Russian planes fired several missiles at an airbase near Lviv in western Ukraine on Sunday but gave no further details.

Seven civilians, including a child, were killed Saturday in a designated humanitarian corridor when Russia struck the convoy, forcing the civilians to turn around, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said only nine of 14 humanitarian corridors were open Saturday. Vereshchuk said about 13,000 people were evacuated along the routes that had been agreed upon as safe passage exits for civilians.

Also Saturday, a Russian missile attack destroyed a Ukrainian air base in the city of Vasylkiv, according to Mayor Natalia Balasynovych who said an oil depot also was destroyed.

Russia’s Interfax News Agency quoted Balasynovych as saying Russian rockets also destroyed an ammunition depot near Vasylkiv.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Saturday that Russia is trying to create new “pseudo-republics” in Ukraine to break his country apart. "Ukraine will stand this test,” the president said. “We need time and strength to break the war machine that has come to our land.”

French and German leaders spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, but France said in a statement they did not detect “a willingness on Putin’s part to end the war.”

Ukraine’s foreign ministry tweeted Saturday that Russian forces shelled a mosque in Mariupol where 80 people were sheltering. The ministry did not disclose the timing of the attack, but it said some of those in the mosque were from Turkey.

A member of the local Suleiman Mosque Association in Mariupol who was sheltering at the mosque, Ismail Hacioglu, said the mosque was not hit directly but had caught fire, according to Agence France-Presse.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military has reportedly said Russian forces have captured Mariupol’s eastern outskirts, and Ukrainian authorities have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the besieged southern port city.

Ukrainian officials in Mariupol said Friday more than 1,500 people have been killed since Russia began its assault on the city, a figure that has not been independently confirmed.

On Friday, a senior U.S. defense official said Russia had widened its war in Ukraine by targeting areas in the west of the country and appears to be regrouping troops near the capital, Kyiv, as the United States and its allies increase sanctions on Moscow.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence, confirmed Russia had begun targeting sites in western Ukraine, hitting airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, part of a salvo of more than 800 missiles launched since the start of the invasion.

Ukrainian forces were continuing to mount "an adaptive and nimble" defense that was frustrating Russian forces, the U.S. defense official said.

The official also told reporters the U.S. is seeing signs that Russian forces, and the Russian air force in particular, are displaying a "general risk aversion" while also showing their inexperience.

"This is not a military that has great expeditionary capability and experience," the official said. "Nothing on this scale."

But the official also warned there are indications Russian forces are learning from their early missteps.

Some information also came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.