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Russia Playing Dangerous Game as Latest Air Strike Comes Within Miles of NATO Territory

  Russia showed its contempt for possible NATO action Sunday by attacking a Ukrainian base less than a dozen miles from the Polish border. R...

 Russia showed its contempt for possible NATO action Sunday by attacking a Ukrainian base less than a dozen miles from the Polish border.

Russian fighter jets based at Saratov, in southwestern Russia, killed 35 people and wounded 134, Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the Lviv regional military administration, said, according to The New York Times.

Casualties included civilians and military personnel.

“The air defense system worked, a number of them were shot down,” Kozytskyi said.

On Saturday, a Russian official had said convoys of weapons were “legitimate targets.”One commentator said that because foreign instructors and troops were often at the base prior to the war, the action showed a lack of concern fo

r killing non-Ukrainians.

“When Russia bombed the base near Lviv last night, it had to assume Americans were likely to be killed or injured. A coordinator of foreign volunteers in Ukraine told me the base was a hub for 1000s of them, coming from all over to help Ukraine. I met some from US, UK, Australia,” Time correspondent Simon Shuster wrote in a tweet.

“Russia has attacked the International Centre for Peacekeeping & Security near Lviv. Foreign instructors work here. Information about the victims is being clarified,” said Oleksii Reznikov, the Ukrainian defense minister, according to the Guardian.

The Times report indicated the base was on fire five hours after the missiles struck. 

“My windows shook. The whole house vibrated. It was dark. The sky lit up with two explosions,” said Stepan Chuma, 27, an emergency worker who lives near the base.

On Sunday, Lviv’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, called for help. 

“Today, Russian missiles bombed the International Peacekeeping Center, located 40 kilometers from Lviv and 20 kilometers from the border with Poland, the EU, and NATO,” he wrote in a Facebook post in which he called out President Joe Biden and NATO’s leadership.

“Joe Biden, Jens Stoltenberg do you understand that war is closer than you imagine? Russia is already on your border. You have fighters that can protect our skies. And when I say ‘ours’ I mean not only Ukrainian. Because very soon, this war may lose the prefix Russian-Ukrainian. Stop the war! Help us close the skies of Europe!” he wrote.

On Sunday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan played it close to the vest when asked about the attack as a possible catalyst for expanded NATO intervention, according to CBS.

“The president has been clear repeatedly that the United States will work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory, and that means every inch. And if there is a military attack on NATO territory, it would cause the invocation of Article Five, and we would bring the full force of the NATO alliance to bear in responding to it,” he said. 

When asked if a shot goes astray and hits NATO territory, Sullivan replied, “Look, all I will say is that if Russia attacks, fires upon, takes a shot at NATO territory, the NATO alliance would respond to that.”

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