Russia escalated attacks in western Ukraine on Sunday with a deadly airstrike on a military base where Ukrainian troops had trained with NATO forces, bringing the conflict closer to Poland and other members of the bloc.
Continued fighting in multiple regions caused more misery throughout Ukraine and provoked renewed international outrage. Outside the capital city of Kyiv, a U.S. video journalist died Sunday and another American journalist was injured when they were attacked by Russian forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to create new “pseudo-republics” to break his country apart. He called on Ukraine’s regions not to repeat the experience of 2014, when pro-Russian separatists began fighting against Ukrainian forces in two eastern areas.
Now in its third week, the war has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee Ukraine. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have been killed.
Here are some key things to know about the conflict:
<b> WHAT HAPPENED IN WESTERN UKRAINE?</b>
Ukrainian officials said at least 35 people were killed and 134 wounded Sunday when more than 30 cruise missiles were fired at the Yavoriv military range, just 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the Polish border.
The training base appears to be the most westward target struck so far in the 18-day invasion. The facility, also known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, has long been used to train Ukrainian military personnel, often with instructors from the United States and other NATO countries.
The base has also hosted international NATO drills. As such, the site symbolizes what has long been a Russian complaint: That the 30-member NATO alliance is moving ever closer to Russia’s borders. Russia has demanded that Ukraine drop its ambitions to join NATO.
The United States condemned the attack on Yavoriv, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeting Sunday: “The brutality must stop.”
The U.S. also issued a swift warning: White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that NATO will respond if any Russian attacks go beyond Ukrainian borders and hit NATO countries.
Russian airstrikes also again hit the airport in Ivano-Frankivsk, another city in western Ukraine south of Lviv and 250 kilometers (155 miles) away from Ukraine’s border with NATO members Slovakia and Hungary. The city’s mayor, Ruslan Martsinkiv, said Russia’s goal was “to sow panic and fear.”
<b> WHAT’S HAPPENING IN MARIUPOL AND ELSEWHERE?</b>
In the besieged port city of Mariupol, the city council says more than 2,180 people have been killed in near-constant shelling by Russian forces.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said suffering in the port city is “simply immense” and that hundreds of thousands of residents are “facing extreme or total shortages of basic necessities like food, water and medicine.” The organization said bodies of civilians and soldiers remained where they fell.
Ukrainian authorities said Russians agreed that more than 10 humanitarian corridors would open Sunday – including a route from Mariupol. But similar promises have failed and there was no word late Sunday on whether the routes were usable. Officials said a convoy carrying 100 tons of aid was expected to arrive in Mariupol on Monday.
In the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea, authorities reported nine people killed in bombings. They said 32 people were also wounded in Russian airstrikes on a monastery and a children’s resort in the eastern Donetsk region.
<b> WHAT HAPPENED TO THE U.S. JOURNALISTS?</b>
The Kyiv police force said Sunday that Russian troops opened fire on the car of Brent Renaud and another journalist in Irpin, near the capital. Police said the injured journalist, Juan Arredondo, was taken to a hospital in Kyiv.
A New York Times spokesperson said Renaud, 50, was a “talented filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years.” The spokesperson said he was not working for the publication at the time of his death. TIME released a statement saying Renaud had been working on a TIME Studios project about the global refugee crisis.
Journalist Annalisa Camilli told The Associated Press she was at a hospital in Kyiv where Arredondo was brought for treatment. In a video recorded by Camilli, Arredondo, lying on a stretcher, said he and Renaud had been filming refugees fleeing the area when Russian soldiers opened fire at a checkpoint.
The driver of their vehicle turned around, but soldiers continued firing, Arredondo said. Arredondo said an ambulance carried him away and Renaud, who was shot in the neck, was left behind.
<b> WHAT HAS THE AP DIRECTLY WITNESSED OR CONFIRMED?</b>
At a hospital in Brovary, near Kyiv, doctors tended to the injured, including three people who drove over a mine.
Valentyn Bagnyuk, the hospital’s chief doctor, said 80% of patients at the hospital are civilians who have been injured by shelling.
Volodymr Adamkovych sat shirtless on a hospital bed, bandages on his abdomen covering wounds caused by a shell that landed in his home. He said he spent the night in the basement of the home before he could safely reach the hospital. He said his wife and child were also at home but were not injured.
In the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, Ukrainian soldier Alexei Lipirdi, 46, said that the Russians “want to intimidate us so that we will not be calm,” but he and his unit remain defiant. Smoke billowed from distant buildings as he spoke.
<b>WHAT IS THE LATEST ON UKRAINIAN REFUGEES?</b>
While the number of people arriving in neighboring countries from Ukraine appears to have eased in the past week, the refugees’ harrowing accounts of destruction and death continue.
At the train station in Przemysl, Poland, refugees described traveling in packed trains and “people sleeping on each other” during their journeys to safety. Some heard explosions as they passed through a western region of Ukraine near Lviv, in the area where Russian missiles hit the military training base.
“The sky,” said Elizaveta Zmievskaya, 25, from Dnipro, “became red.”
Ina Padi, 40, who crossed the border with her family, was taking shelter at a fire station in Wielkie Oczy, Poland, when she was awakened by blasts Sunday that made the windows shake.
“I understood in that moment even if we are free of it, (the war) is still coming after us,” she said.
More than 1.5 million refugees have arrived in Poland since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 – the United Nations says a total of about 2.7 million people have fled Ukraine so far.
Polish border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska said the numbers of refugees arriving have eased in the past week with about 79,800 arriving on Saturday, compared to 142,000 a week earlier.
<b> WHAT ARE WORLD LEADERS SAYING?</b>
Talks to establish a broad cease-fire have been unsuccessful so far. The Kremlin’s spokesman said another round of talks would take place Monday by videolink, according to Russian state news agency Tass.
U.S. President Joe Biden is sending his national security adviser to Rome on Monday to meet with a Chinese official, amid concerns that Beijing is amplifying Russian disinformation and may help Moscow evade punishing Western sanctions. The White House said the talks will focus on the direct impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on regional and global security.
Meanwhile, from Vatican City, Pope Francis decried the “barbarianism” of the killing of children and other defenseless Ukrainians and called for attacks to stop “before cities are reduced to cemeteries.”
“In the name of God, I ask: `Stop this massacre,”‘ Francis said. (AP=Newsis)