(Update 1: upgrades death toll, injuries, re-ledes and alters headline)
Lviv, Ukraine, Mar 13 (EFE).- Russian missile strikes on a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border killed at least 35 people and injured over 100 others, the governor of the Lviv region, where the attack took place, said on Sunday.
Maksym Kozytskyy added in a statement shared on Telegram that 134 people were injured in the rocket attack on the facility in Yavoriv, which is located just over 20 kilometers from the border with Poland, a European Union and Nato member state.
In an earlier message, he said Russia had fired 30 missiles at the base although claimed the majority had been shot down by Ukrainian air-defense systems.
The regional military administration on Saturday said eight missiles had struck the international peacekeeping and security center 50 kilometers to the west of Lviv, a city that has swelled in population as internally displaced Ukrainians escape the Russian invasion that has so far concentrated around the country’s east and south, as well as near the capital Kyiv.
Ukraine’s defense minister Oleskii Reznikov said in a tweet that foreign instructors had been based at the Yavoriv complex, although it was unclear if any were present at the time of the Russian missile strike.
“Information about the victims is being clarified. This is new terrorist attack on peace & security near the EU-NATO border,” he added.
The rocket attack occurred in the early hours of Sunday and the blasts were heard in Lviv as well as in towns on the other side of the Polish border, local media reported.
Air raid sirens sounded in Lviv minutes before the attack.
Lviv has offered relative sanctuary since the start of the Russian invasion given its location in far-western Ukraine, away from Russian ground operations.
It has become the main transit point for the over two million Ukrainians who have fled to the neighboring countries of Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continue their constant and heavy bombardment of towns and cities in eastern and southern Ukraine, local authorities reported.
Russian forces are trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the country’s east with advances from Kharkiv in the northeast and Mariupol in the southeast, according to a British intelligence report Sunday.
In a previous report, British authorities said Russian president Vladimir Putin had “publicly welcomed” 16,000 mercenaries from the Middle East, mostly Syrians, who are set to join the offensive in Ukraine.
Syrian fighters have previously fought as Russian proxies in Libya in the wake of Moscow’s intervention in the Syrian Civil War, which turned the tide of an armed uprising in favor of the once-embattled authoritarian leader Bashar Al Assad, one of Putin’s closest allies. EFE