Putin 'targets Nato weapons' in deadly strike on Ukraine base where foreign advisers work

13 March 2022, 10:32 | Updated: 13 March 2022, 11:16

Russia has struck an air base in western Ukraine
Russia has struck an air base in western Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Vladimir Putin may have targeted weapon shipments from Nato to Ukraine by striking a military base near the border with Poland.

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Foreign instructors were confirmed to have been at the air base but it was unclear if any had been hurt.

A total of 35 people were killed in the missile attack at Yaroviv, just 15 miles from the Nato frontier, while 134 were injured.

It comes after Vladimir Putin 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.

Speaking from Poland, LBC presenter Matt Frei, who has been reporting from the war, told Andrew Castle: "Yesterday Vladimir Putin said that those shipments from Nato in Ukraine are a fair target and overnight he was as good as his word and zapped them.

"This is not just pushing the war to the west of Ukraine, it is also getting very, perilously, close to the Nato border, the Polish border."

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Speaking about the possibility of people from Nato countries getting caught up in the attack, he said: "If any of them have been killed in this or injured then things get a little bit more serious.

"It doesn't mean automatically Nato gets involved in this, I'm not sure if Putin is just targeting the weapons… it's getting a little bit too close for comfort."

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Ukraine's defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said: "Russia has attacked the International Center for Peacekeeping & Security near Lviv. Foreign instructors work here. Information about the victims is being clarified."

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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.

The air base is close to the border with Poland, a Nato member
The air base is close to the border with Poland, a Nato member. Picture: Google Maps

Ukraine's cities are under siege throughout the country, with Russian forces dealing devastating destruction in their attacks.

This week saw them destroy a maternity hospital and a psychiatric care facility in strikes that shocked the world.

Its forces are moving to surround the capital, Kyiv, while Ukrainians mount a strong resistance against them.