Russian Missiles Strike Ukrainian Aircraft Plant That Repairs MiG-29 Fighters
Russian forces have increasingly targeted areas in Western Ukraine as their advances on the ground elsewhere have slowed.
Today, Russian missiles struck the Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant in the western city of the same name, which lies just over 40 miles from the Polish border. This facility, among other things, is responsible for performing major maintenance on the country's MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets. This is the first strike on a target within Lviv, which is also a major transshipment point for foreign aid of various kinds entering Ukraine, in weeks and the damage was substantial, as you can read more about here. Russian forces have recently launched a number of strikes on targets in the western half of Ukraine, which has largely been a safe haven of sorts from the conflict, as they struggle to make significant new gains on the ground elsewhere.
Readers can first get fully up to speed on what has already been happening in this conflict with our previous rolling coverage here and then jump into the latest news below.
Readers can continue to follow along with our ongoing rolling coverage of the conflict in Ukraine here.
POSTED: 1:55 PM EST—
"Several missiles hit the aircraft repair facility. Its buildings were destroyed by the strikes," Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said. "Active work at the plant had been stopped in time, so as of yet there are no casualties."
The exact extent of the damage to the facility is unclear, but satellite imagery from Planet Labs that The War Zone reviewed indicates that a large hangar, seen in the older Google Earth image below, was among the structures severely damaged if not destroyed as a result of the strikes. This was subsequently confirmed by high-resolution satellite imagery, as you can find out more about here.
"The missiles, which were fired from the Black Sea area, were partially shot down," Maksym Kozytskyy, who is in charge of the city's military administration, separately said. "But four of them hit the aircraft repair plant."
The detail about the apparent launch of these missiles from the Black Sea is interesting given reports of increased Russian military activity in that body of water, possibly ahead of a new offensive targeting Ukraine's coastline there, including the strategic port city of Odesa. In addition, any cruise missiles fired at Lviv from the Black Sea would have most likely had to have flown an indirect route to their target in order to avoid flying through Moldovan airspace.
No matter what, targeting infrastructure that supports the Ukrainian Air Force's fighter fleets like the Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant would make good sense for the Russian military, which has so far been unable to gain air superiority in Ukraine. A separate Russian missile strike on the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk a week ago targeted a different facility that is responsible for repairing the RD-33 jet engines that power the country's MiG-29s.
As already noted, this strike came as Russian ground offensives have largely stalled elsewhere in Ukraine.
Ukraine's capital Kyiv continues to be among the cities regularly targeted by Russian forces, which are causing a growing number of civilian casualties.
Russian forces are now reportedly deep within the strategic southern port city of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov north of the Black Sea, which has been subjected to a brutal siege for weeks now. If Russia's military, together with Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, can take full control of this city, it will help secure an extremely valuable landbridge between western Russia and occupied Crimea.
The video footage below reportedly shows Russian forces trucking damaged helicopters from Kherson Airbase in southern Ukraine, which they currently occupy, following a recent attack, as you can read more about here.
There are reports that the Russian military may have deployed additional Tochka short-range ballistic missiles to Belarus to support the ongoing operations in Ukraine.
The video footage below reportedly shows Ukrainian forces employing some of the country's own Tochka ballistic missiles.
The picture below reportedly shows a destroyed Russian BM-27 Uragan rocket artillery system with improvised aluminum armor on its cab. Pictures had already previously emerged of Russian vehicles with improvised armor made from wood logs. In both cases, these additions appear to be attempts to help provide some kind of additional protection against Ukrainian forces that are now armed with various guided anti-tank missiles and unguided anti-armor weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a major pro-war rally in Moscow today, which is the eighth anniversary of the country's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. The television broadcast of his speech was abruptly cut short due to what Russian authorities subsequently said was a technical glitch. State television subsequently broadcast his full remarks, which included a note that the invasion of Ukraine has started on the birthday of Fyodor Ushakov, a famous undefeated Imperial Russian Navy admiral who was subsequently canonized and is now the patron saint of Russia's nuclear bomber force.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Joe Biden during a call today that his government had not wanted to see a conflict erupt in Ukraine and that authorities in Kyiv and Moscow should pursue a negotiated settlement. The Chinese leader also called for the U.S. government and those of other NATO members to address both Russian and Ukrainian security concerns.
An official government poll in historically neutral Finland shows that 90 percent of the people there support sanctions on Russia even if its has negative impacts on the country.
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