According to officials, the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which has so far escaped the brunt of the conflict, has recorded its first civilian deaths as a result of Russian strikes.
According to the city’s mayor, at least seven people were killed and 11 others were injured in the early morning attack on Monday, with the death toll expected to rise as emergency crews clear the rubble.
Following weeks of strikes in cities such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol, tens of thousands of people have fled to neighboring Poland through Lviv.
However, Mayor Andriy Sadovyi told reporters that the morning strikes demonstrated that Ukraine now has “no safe and unsafe locations.”
“Everyone is in danger,” he continued. After Ukraine’s attempt to take the capital, Kyiv, in the north, Russia has stated that its plan is to concentrate its forces in the east, in an attempt to capture the industrial area along the border known as the Donbas.
This is why the strikes in Lviv, which is hundreds of miles away from the eastern front line, came as a shock to many residents.
“We see it through the prism of a great tragedy when we see it in Mariupol, when we see it in Kharkiv,” Mr Sadovyi told the BBC. “However, when it occurs at home, people perceive it through the loss of the person – who you had just seen and worked with 30 minutes before.”
Officials say the missiles hit three warehouses and a car garage, where a group of coworkers had gathered for a coffee break before heading to work.
Yury Baran, who worked in the garage’s IT department, was one of them.
Anatoly and Maria, Anatoly’s parents, arrived later at the attack site, which is now surrounded by ruined cars and debris. They hadn’t been able to reach their son, who was less than a month away from turning 27.
Those assisting in the sifting through the rubble now informed them of the worst news: he had died in the attack.
“Humans are incapable of such feats. They aren’t humans; they’re invading barbarians “The Russians, Anatoly said. Valya has lived in a building near the construction site since she was a child. The 70-year-old woman heard the sirens shortly before 8:00 a.m. local time (06:00 a.m. BST) but ignored them, assuming she was safe.
She was knocked to the ground by the explosion. “I was terrified,” she admitted. “Everything was trembling, and every piece of glass had shattered.”
She wandered into the street in a daze, still wearing her pajamas, until a neighbor yelled at her to go to the basement.
Olena, who lives upstairs in the same block, said she took her dog Valdo to the kitchen for safety after hearing the explosion.
Following the attacks, Mr Sadovyi stated that residents in his city would now pay more attention to air raid sirens. While the Russians have struck the Lviv region before, injuring five civilians in an attack in March, these are the first confirmed civilian deaths in the city proper.
Tatiana was waiting for a bus when the Russians attacked. She, like others, couldn’t believe the city was under attack; at first, she assumed it was a gas explosion.
She called the attacks “inhuman,” claiming that national leaders make decisions while ordinary citizens “die for nothing.”
The strikes shattered the country’s sense of security in the west. On Sunday, the number of people crossing from Poland surpassed those leaving Ukraine for the first time since the war began, and some of the refugees we spoke with are now returning home after fleeing the country’s east.
Civilians, humanitarian organizations, foreign diplomats, and journalists have sought refuge in the city. Officials recently extended the curfew until 23:00 local time, and bars and churches in the city center were packed over the weekend.
Myroslava, who was walking past the blast site as firefighters battled billowing, black smoke pouring from a roof top, told us she could hear the explosion from 1.5 kilometers away, echoing the sentiments of everyone caught up in Russia’s invasion.