Air raid in Yavoriv, ​​what happened at the base. Trainers hit, “35 victims”: for Moscow “there are 180”

Of Marta Serafini

The offensive extends close to the EU countries. Ivano-Frankivsk airport, towards Slovakia, is also targeted. The arrival of Zelensky’s number two is awaited in Lviv

STARYCHI (LEOPOLI) – There are our loved ones in there. We don’t know if they are still alive or dead. Five kilometers from the base of Yavoriv, ​​about twenty kilometers from the border with Europe. Here yesterday morning 35 people were killed and 134 wounded by 30 missiles. A rain of fire, to reaffirm the message. Any place where weapons come and train to fight a legitimate military target.

Ludmilla and the women of the village of Starychi are silent, while they queue to receive the confession from Father Andry. The marble face while on the pediment of the small country church San Giorgio tries to kill the dragon. We woke up at dawn, we heard huge explosions, the windows were shaking. Then we saw the smoke and heard the planes roar overhead. They are the Russian jets that took off in the night from Saratov. We still don’t know who died and who survived. We escaped from Zaporizhzhya on March 5th, we thought we were safe here. And instead war again. The ladies of Starychi don’t want to talk too much. No video, you journalists where to tell NATO that it has to come here, tell them that they are slaughtering us all

Dozens of ambulances carrying the most seriously injured. The surviving soldiers evacuated on the yellow buses escorted by trucks and heavy vehicles. Inside the base, in the barracks of the dormitory, the bodies of the charred comrades remain.

The war arrives in the West, in the woods that separate Poland from Ukraine. The military base cannot be reached. Checkpoints block the way. Along the way, the sirens still howl. I am in the hospital, injured but I am alive, soon I have surgery.

Messages from the military who survived the raids arrive on WhatsApp. They say 35 dead but they are certainly many more, writes the daughter of a soldier who was killed on Instagram. I was on my way to Yavoriv just early this morning, when I heard knocks, explains a Ukrainian volunteer who had returned from abroad to enlist on the phone that yesterday he had to deliver aid to the NATO training center. But now I can’t tell you more, dangerous now. I am afraid.

A base of 390 square kilometers. Maximum capacity, 1,184 men. Behind it, to protect it, the birch forest, and the Rotzochya nature reserve, Yavoriv has long been used to train Ukrainian military personnel. The instructors from the United States and other NATO countries have passed through here. A joint exercise was held here in 2015. The embodiment of the spirit of military cooperation between Ukraine and international forces, Admiral Rob Bauer called it. Bad for Moscow, because it symbolizes the expansionism of the Western Alliance towards Russia.

On the way back to Lviv, alerts arrive on Telegram. TOEven Ivano-Frankivsk, further south towards Slovakia, was hit again. Here is the civil and military international airport where aid and weapons arrive. Leave your homes, says the mayor of the city Ruslan Martsinkyv.

Moscow admits responsibility for the attack on Yavoriv: the base housed foreign mercenaries. And 180 of them were killed. A very different budget from the one arriving from the military authorities of Lviv. We have made it very clear to Russia that NATO territory will be defended, not only by the United States, but from all allies, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby replied from Washington.

All ‘entrance of Lviv, the line for refueling gets longer. And at the checkpoints yellow-blue flags fly. But also the red and black ones of the nationalists. In front of the hospital in the city where the wounded arrived, a group of armed men wearing black bombers gathers. I’m from the civilian militia.

In the central square resounds the national anthem sung by the artists of the city: Not yet dead the glory of Ukraine, nor its freedom. Destiny will smile again at us young brothers.

Among them also the winner of a Ukrainian edition of The Voice, Pavlo Tabakov, very young girls, long hair, jeans and sweatshirt, embracing, elderly with fur collars, matching bonnets and hand on heart. I’m sure we’ll stop the occupants. We will protect Europe from these savages, as we always have, says one of them resolutely. The last alert arrives on the phone: Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk, Zelensky’s loyalist, is waiting for today in the city. And who knows if Putin will let us sleep tonight.

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