Russia’s air offensive also bore down on targets in the West of the country over the weekend. Early Sunday morning, Russian missiles hit the International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC) near Lviv, volgens die plaaslike regering. The IPSC, a large military base near the Polish border, includes a training center for soldiers, predominantly for peacekeeping missions.
And a Russian airstrike destroyed an airport in the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk, the city’s mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv said, the third such attack on the airport.
A CNN team on the ground in Lviv heard multiple explosions shortly before 6 am. local time near the city. Lviv is a cultural hub of Ukraine and the city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a waypoint for those displaced by war, with thousands of people pouring into the city to escape bombarded towns and cities across the country or to make their way to the Polish border about 43 myl (70 kilometers) away.
As the Russian onslaught wears into its third week, Russian troops are inching closer to Kyiv. The bulk of Russian ground forces are about 15.5 myl (25 kilometers) from the center of the Ukrainian capital, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.
Images circulated online and verified by CNN show major damage caused by Russian airstrikes to apartment complexes, schools and a medical facility in Makariv, a village 30 myl (48 kilometers) west of Kyiv.
‘They have to keep doing more’
As the devastation mounts, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has grown more vocal in his calls for increased aid and protection from NATO, even as the bloc remains firm that it will not send ground troops or establish a no-fly zone over the country.
“The evil which purposefully targets peaceful cities and ambulance vans and explodes hospitals will not stop with just one country if they have the strength to keep going,” Zelensky, who has become the voice of resistance, said in an address Saturday.
“I keep reiterating to our allies and friends abroad; they have to keep doing more for our country, for Ukrainians and Ukraine. Because it is not only for Ukraine, but it is for all of Europe,” hy het gesê.
The Russian threat to attack Western weapons convoys came the same day that US President Joe Biden upped American military support for Ukraine, with the approval of an additional drawdown of $ 200 million in defense aid and services, including military education and training, for Ukraine.
A US administration official said the $ 200 million will include “anti-armor, anti-aircraft systems, and small arms in support of Ukraine’s front-line defenders facing down Russia’s unprovoked attack.” The addition brings the total amount of security assistance provided to Ukraine by the US is $ 1.2 billion in the past year.
The Russian warning raises the risk of direct confrontation between Moscow and a NATO country — something Western leaders have been striving to avoid since the start of the fighting, with Biden stressing on Friday that the US will not “fight world war three” in die Oekraïne.
But a path to de-escalation remains murky
, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in a 75-minute phone call German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday
Macron and Scholz appealed to Putin to “move toward a diplomatic solution to the conflict,” according to German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit, but a French presidency source told CNN the Russian President seemed “determined to achieve his objectives in Ukraine.”
In comments during a news conference Saturday, Zelensky said that any negotiations to end the Russian invasion “must begin with ceasefire.”
Zelensky also said in a separate address that day that corridors established in Ukraine for the evacuation of civilians have been “werk,” announcing that 12,729 people were evacuated Saturday.