Lviv, Ukraine (AP) — On Saturday, several rockets struck the city of Lviv in western Ukraine. President Joe Biden was visiting the Polish capital, Its border is only 45 miles away. A powerful explosion scared the city, which was a haven for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Russian assaults on other parts of Ukraine.
Thick black smoke rose for several hours from the first blast site in the northeastern suburbs of the city before the second explosion was reported.
Regional Governor Maxym Kozytsky said on Facebook that there were preliminary signs that five people were injured in the first attack, but did not specify what the two rockets hit. A few hours later, he reported three more explosions outside the city, again with no details.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy called the second round a rocket attack and said it caused significant damage to unspecified “infrastructure objects.”
Lviv has largely escaped since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, but a week ago a missile attacked an aircraft repair facility near the international airport.
The series of attacks on Saturday brought chills to the inhabitants and refugee Ukrainians who regarded Lviv as a relatively safe place to rebuild their lives. The city, which was inhabited by about 700,000 people before the invasion, has absorbed even more people.
In a dimly crowded bomb shelter under a block of apartments just a short walk from the first blast site, the Orana Ukrainians couldn’t believe she had to hide again. She fled to Lviv from Kharkov, one of the most bombed cities in the Russian invasion.
“We were on one side of the street and saw it on the other side,” said a 34-year-old IT worker about the blast. “We saw the fire. I said to my friend,” What is this? ” Then I heard an explosion and the sound of glass breaking. I tried to hide between the buildings. I don’t know what the target was. “
After fleeing to Lviv, she felt relieved until the air raid sirens no longer caused fear.
“I was convinced that all these alarms had no consequences. When I heard their voice at night, I would say I was just staying in bed,” she said. “I changed my mind today and I have to hide it every time …. Currently, no city in Ukraine is safe.”
There were no immediate words of casualties in the Saturday attack, but the survivors were worried. Several witnesses said the area was partly an industrial area, but they were shopping nearby.
“I saw a lot of ambulances coming,” said Inga Kapitula, a 24-year-old IT worker who said he felt a blast 100 meters or 200 meters (yards) away from the first attack. “It was really close.”
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