'Three British ex-special forces troops feared to have died in Russian airstrike'

15 March 2022, 00:14

Russian Air Strikes Hit Military Training Site West Of Lviv
Russian Air Strikes Hit Military Training Site West Of Lviv. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Megan Hinton

Three British former special forces soldiers are feared to have been killed in a Russian airstrike near the Polish border, the Mirror reports.

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More than 30 Russian cruise missiles targeted the Yavoriv base on Sunday, killing as many as 35 people.

According to reports, three special British former special forces soldiers were feared to be among those dead but the trio were not part of the foreign legion fighting unit being trained at the base six miles from the border.

Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for Russia's ministry of defence, said the base was struck by "long-range, high-precision" weapons adding that 180 people had been killed in the strike, though Ukraine initially said 35 people died and another 134 were wounded.

Whilst The Sun reports that missiles narrowly missed "hundreds" of westerns including British fighters who were gathered just yards away from the blast.

One source said: "A hundred yards difference you would be looking at hundreds of western casualties.

"There were so many passports in there — British, Brazilian, Canadian, American, you name it."

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Ukrainian authorities work to extract residents from Kyiv building after Russian shelling

Ukrainian intelligence chiefs believe Russian spies provided information from the base which was attacked on Sunday so that Vladimir Putin could target a weapon shipments from NATO.

It comes after the Russian President said NATO's supply of weapons to Ukraine were viable targets as Western missiles obliterate his force's tanks and armoured vehicles - though it is unclear whether materiel from the alliance was at the base at the time of the strike.

Western weapon supplies have been seen as crucial in helping to stall the Russian advance, with anti-tank and anti-air systems being used to great effect.

Kyiv has often put out footage showing armoured vehicles getting destroyed by soldiers armed with missile launchers, ambushing convoys which are forced to flee.

Despite suppling Kyiv with assistance, the US has put a plan to give Ukraine Mig 29 fighter jets from Poland on ice.

Warsaw had hoped to transfer them to American control for onward delivery to Ukraine, and announced it would do so before the US later said it would not happen.

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Drone footage shows extent of destruction in Mariupol

Russian forces also fired artillery on suburbs northwest of Kyiv, a major political and strategic target for the invasion, as well as points east of the city, regional administration chief Oleksiy Kuleba said on Ukrainian television.

A town councillor for Brovary, east of Kyiv, was killed in fighting there and shells fell on the towns of Irpen, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia's stalled attempt to take the capital, Mr Kuleba said.

Artillery hit a nine-storey apartment building in a northern district of the city early on Monday morning, destroying apartments on several floors and igniting a fire.

The state emergency agency, which released images of the smoking building, said it had no immediate reports of casualties.

The general staff of Ukraine's armed forces said on Monday morning that Russian troops have not made major advances over the past 24 hours, despite expanding strikes to the west.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called it a "black day" and again urged Nato leaders to establish a no-fly zone over the country, a plea the West has said could escalate the war to a nuclear confrontation.

"If you do not close our sky, it is only a matter of time before Russian missiles fall on your territory... Nato territory... On the homes of citizens of Nato countries," Mr Zelensky said, urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet with him directly, a request that has gone unanswered by the Kremlin.