Russian cruise missiles target Lviv airport in pre-dawn strike

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
A cloud of smoke raises after an explosion in Lviv, western Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022.
A cloud of smoke raises after an explosion in Lviv, western Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022.   -   Copyright  AFP

A Russian missile attack on Lviv airport in western Ukraine has destroyed a factory, and damaged a bus repair garage.

City residents were woken by air raid sirens just before dawn and the mayor of Lviv said "several missiles hit an aircraft repair factory."

Writing on Telegram, mayor Andriy Sadovy said the aircraft repair building was destroyed in the fire, but operations had already been suspended and there were no casualties.

The Ukrainian Air Force says that according to preliminary information four Russian cruise missiles, fired from the Black Sea several hundred kilometers away, hit the area.

Two other Russian missiles were reportedly shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses before reaching their target.

Lviv's mayor Sadovy said rescuers were at work at the scene of the strike. Earlier, he said the missiles had not directly hit Danylo Halytskyi International Airport, which is located six kilometers to the southeast of the city centre.

Although Ukraine's airspace is now closed for civilian passenger planes, in peaceful times passengers could fly from Lviv to more than 50 international destinations across Europe including Madrid, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Milan, Venice and Barcelona. Seasonal flights linked holidaymakers to summer holiday destinations like Alicante, Sharm El Sheikh, and Antalya.

Last Sunday the Russian army bombed a Ukrainian military base near Lviv although the city has been spared fighting so far, and has become a last staging post for many refugees fleeing west into Poland just a short distance away.

In the buildup to Russia's invasion on 24 February, a number of embassies moved their operations from the capital Kyiv to Lviv in the west, as it was thought to be a much safer location. Several international media outlets are also using Lviv as a base of operations to broadcast news bulletins.