Dark smoke is seen on the horizon after a Russian missile strike hit the airport in Lviv, Ukraine
Dark smoke is seen on the horizon after a Russian missile strike hit the airport in Lviv, Ukraine (Picture: Sipa US/Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Ukraine: Russian strikes hit military aircraft repair plant in Lviv

Dark smoke is seen on the horizon after a Russian missile strike hit the airport in Lviv, Ukraine
Dark smoke is seen on the horizon after a Russian missile strike hit the airport in Lviv, Ukraine (Picture: Sipa US/Alamy Stock Photo).

Russia has expanded its missile strikes to Lviv, in the west of Ukraine, including the targeting of a facility used to repair military planes.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said several missiles hit the facility near the city's international airport and also damaged a bus repair site.

Professor Michael Clarke, former director of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it is "fairly clear" that the Russians are going for the infrastructure that is "keeping Ukrainian aircraft in the air".

He added he didn't know if the warehouse was operating, as Ukraine has dispersed its aircraft as much as possible.

"They started this conflict with, we thought, about 120 serviceable aircraft," he said.

"They look as if they've still got about 50 flying, so they must be maintaining them somewhere, although that must be a closely guarded secret to Kyiv.

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"But the Russians are clearly probing to try to hit those places and also, I think, probably to send a message to the West that this war could widen, it could get more dangerous, [Russia] don't care about sending cruise missiles pretty close to Lviv or to the Polish border.

"It's also an attempt to frighten the West out of helping Ukraine as much as they have been doing," he added.

UK Armed Forces minister James Heappey said the early-morning attack on the city showed Russia was broadening its strikes.

"It's very much a part of war that you would go after each others' supply lines," he said.

"But clearly the air strike on an airbase in western Ukraine last week and strikes on to Lviv airport last night show that the Russians" are "going after Ukrainian depth as well."

The minister added that the indiscriminate shellings on cities were "very probably" war crimes and said the Russian president bears the ultimate "culpability" for atrocities.

Watch: Why the Black Sea port of Odesa matters in the Ukraine conflict.

"The areas of Ukrainian territory that have been taken by the Russians haven't changed for a week or so," he said.

"The Russians are way behind in their plan; they are failing to achieve their military objectives and that may be some cause for optimism," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"But what that doesn't show is that in the cities that are besieged, Mariupol, most concerningly, but Kharkiv, Sumy and others as well, there is just this incredible weight of artillery fire being used indiscriminately to flatten those cities irrespective of who is beneath the shells as they fall."

No casualties were immediately reported in the strikes on Lviv, which has had its population swelled by some 200,000 people seeking refuge from attacks across Ukraine.

An intelligence update from the Ministry of Defence said that Ukrainian forces were continuing to "frustrate" Moscow's attempt to encircle cities despite heavy shelling.

"Russian forces have made minimal progress this week," it added.