LVIV, Ukraine — Several rockets struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Saturday while President Joe Biden was visiting the capital of Poland, whose border is just 45 miles away. These powerful explosions scared a city which had previously been home to hundreds of thousands fleeing Russian aggression in other areas of Ukraine.
Thick black smoke rose from the first blast site on the city’s northeastern outskirts for hours before a second set of explosions were reported.
Maxym Kozytsky (regional governor) stated on Facebook that five people had been injured by the initial attack, but didn’t specify the exact nature of the second rocket. He reported on Facebook hours later three additional explosions outside of the city without providing any details.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi called the second round a rocket attack, saying it did significant damage to an unspecified “infrastructure object.”
Lviv had been largely spared since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, although missiles struck an aircraft repair facility near the international airport a week ago.=-0p
Residents and those displaced by the invasion of Ukraine felt shivers after Saturday’s attacks. They had previously considered Lviv a safe area to start rebuilding their lives. The city was home to approximately 700,000. However, it has been absorbed by many more.
In a dim, crowded bomb shelter under an apartment block a short walk away from the first blast site, Olana Ukrainets couldn’t believe she was having to hide again. She had fled to Lviv from Kharkiv, one of the most bombarded cities of Russia’s invasion.
“We were in one side of the street and saw it on the other side,” the 34-year-old IT worker said of the blast. “We saw fire. I said to my friend, ‘What’s this?’ Then we heard the sound of explosion and glass breaking. We tried hiding between the buildings. I don’t know what the target was.”
Her relief at fleeing Lviv was so great that she no longer felt fear after hearing the sirens of an air raid.
“I was sure that all these alarms wouldn’t have any results. I want to say that sometimes when I heard them at night I just stayed in bed,” she said. “Today I changed my mind, and I should hide every time. … None of the Ukrainian cities are safe now.”
There was no immediate word of total casualties in Saturday’s attacks, but survivors were worried. Although the neighborhood is partially industrialized, a few witnesses claimed they were shopping there.
“We saw many ambulances coming,” said Inga Kapitula, a 24-year-old IT worker who said she was 100 or 200 meters (yards) away from the first attack and felt the blast wave. “It was really close.”
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