'Russian strikes kill 7 in Lviv'

Russian strikes kill 7 in Lviv

Lviv: Russian missiles hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Monday, killing at least seven people, Ukrainian officials said, as Moscow's troops stepped up strikes on infrastructure in preparation for an all-out assault on the east.

Plumes of thick, black smoke rose over the city after a series of explosions shattered windows and started fires. Lviv and the rest of western Ukraine have seen only sporadic strikes during almost two months of war and have become a relative safe haven for people from parts of the country where fighting has been more intense.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, meanwhile, vowed to fight absolutely to the end in strategically vital Mariupol, where the last known pocket of resistance in a seven-week siege was holed up in a sprawling steel plant laced with tunnels. Russia has repeatedly urged forces there to lay down their arms, but those remaining ignored a surrender-or-die ultimatum on Sunday.

Seven people were killed and 11 wounded in overnight missile strikes, according to Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi and the regional governor, Maksym Kozytskyy. The governor said the Russian strikes hit three military infrastructure facilities and an auto mechanic shop. He said the wounded included a child, and emergency teams were battling fires caused by the strikes A powerful explosion also rocked Vasylkiv, a town south of the capital of Kyiv that is home to a military airbase, according to residents. Video posted on social media sites showed smoke in the area after the blast. It was not immediately clear what was hit, and there was no official confirmation from authorities.

The Russian military said its missiles struck more than 20 military targets in eastern and central Ukraine in the past day including ammunition depots, command headquarters and groups of troops and vehicles. Meanwhile, it said artillery hit another 315 Ukrainian targets, and warplanes conducted 108 strikes on Ukrainian troops and military equipment. The claims couldn't be independently verified. Ukraine's government halted civilian evacuations for a second day on Monday, saying Russian forces were shelling and blocking the humanitarian corridors.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar has described Mariupol as a shield defending Ukraine."

The city has been reduced to rubble in the siege, but a few thousand fighters, by Russia's estimate, are holding on to the giant, 11-square-kilometer (4-square-mile) Azovstal steel mill. We will fight absolutely to the end, to the win, in this war, Shmyhal, Ukraine's prime minister, vowed Sunday on ABC's This Week. He said Ukraine is prepared to end the war through diplomacy if possible, but we do not have intention to surrender.

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