A look at some of the recent developments from Ukraine
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Early today, Russia's assault on Ukraine reached an area just about 10 miles from Poland, bringing the conflict very close to the territory of a NATO country. We'll have more on that in a moment. First, a little more detail - Russian missiles struck a Ukrainian military base near the Polish border, killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 100. The attack was the latest to hit targets in western Ukraine, even as Russia continues to pound cities across the country.
NPR's Ryan Lucas is in Lviv, which is in western Ukraine, and he's with us now to tell us more. Ryan, welcome. Thank you for being here.
RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Thanks for having me, Michel.
MARTIN: What more can you tell us about the attack on the Ukrainian military base?
LUCAS: An official with the Lviv Civil Military Administration says Russia fired a total of 30 missiles. He says Ukraine's air defense system intercepted 22 of them. But that, of course, means that eight missiles still reached their target, and that target was the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near the town of Yavoriv. This base is where U.S. troops and NATO allies trained Ukrainian forces before the war. The U.S. and NATO, of course, cleared out well before Russia's full-scale invasion began a few weeks ago.
MARTIN: Now, I understand that you visited the area today. Can you tell us what you saw?
LUCAS: Well, the Ukrainian military, unsurprisingly, had blocked off the roads to the base. They wouldn't let us through. It's a pine forest area, so we couldn't really see anything. But we did speak to some villagers in the area. People were very nervous and very jumpy. One of the people we spoke to was a woman named Ola. She's worried about her safety. She didn't want to give her last name. She was working behind the counter in a little roadside shop. She says she saw the explosions from the balcony of her house.
OLA: (Through interpreter) There was a large fire in the sky. We have a two-story house, and it was shaken and felt like it was going to break apart.
LUCAS: She was very concerned by what she had seen. She started crying as she was talking to us and said that she was thinking of taking her family and fleeing to Poland.
MARTIN: Now, as we said, the space is only about 10 miles from Ukraine's border with Poland. How significant is that?
LUCAS: It's significant. It's important, of course, because Poland is a member of NATO. President Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, was on CBS's "Face The Nation" today, and he was asked whether NATO would take action if a Russian strike actually hit Polish territory. Here's a bit of what he...
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FACE THE NATION")
JAKE SULLIVAN: All I will say is that if Russia attacks, fires upon, takes a shot at NATO territory, the NATO alliance would respond to that.
LUCAS: Now, western Ukraine has been targeted by Russia several times, as you said, in the past few days. They've gone after airfields and now, of course, this military base. And those are facilities that could be used as waystations of sorts for weapons that the West is funneling into Ukraine to help Ukraine in this war. And Russia has warned in recent days that it would consider Western-supplied weapons being ferried into Ukraine as a legitimate target for Russian forces.
MARTIN: Would you say that this is a sign that the war is escalating?
LUCAS: It's certainly punctured the sense of safety here in western Ukraine, which has largely been unscathed so far in this war, but it's hard to say whether it's a sign that the war is escalating. Russia appears to be going after strategic targets in western Ukraine at the moment. We'll see whether that continues to be the case. But Russia's war in the rest of the country remains pretty much the same. They're shelling cities and towns and villages, homes, apartment blocks, shops, hospitals. All of those things are being destroyed, and civilians, of course, in cities across this country are being killed.
MARTIN: Ryan, before we let you go, I'd like to ask you about other news coming out of Ukraine today. An American journalist there has been killed. What can you tell us about that?
LUCAS: Right. The journalist's name is Brent Renaud. That's according to Ukrainian officials. Another journalist who was with him, Juan Arredondo, was wounded. They were reporting in a place called Irpin. It's a suburb of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, and Irpin has been the site of heavy fighting for days now. It's been pounded by Russian forces. Civilians have been desperately trying to get out of the area. Renaud and Arredondo were reporting there. They came under fire, and Renaud was killed. He was an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, and people who knew him have been paying tribute online to who he was and his work as well.
MARTIN: That was NPR's Ryan Lucas in western Ukraine. Ryan, thanks to you and your team for your reporting.
LUCAS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.