Four die in Russian missile attack on Lviv and Zelenskyy vows to respond

The western city was a relative haven for thousands of Ukrainians fleeing conflict

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A Russian missile strike destroyed an apartment block in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Thursday, killing at least four and wounding 34, with rescue workers scrambling through rubble to find survivors.

The emergency services said they had managed to rescue seven people from the rubble and moved 64 others. A child was among those injured, officials said.

The mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, said about 35 residential houses, an office complex, a student campus, a school and 50 cars were damaged.

Windows in hundreds of apartments were smashed and the city would provide 100 million hryvnias ($2.7 million) for repairs, he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised a “tangible response” to the strike on the city, which has become a haven for hundreds of thousands fleeing heavier fighting elsewhere in the country.

"Unfortunately, there are wounded and dead. My condolences to the families," Mr Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app. "There definitely will be a response to the enemy. It will be a noticeable one."

Mr Sadovyi addressed residents in a video message, saying the attack was the largest on Lviv's civilian infrastructure since the beginning of the Russia invasion last year.

He said the street would be closed until emergency workers “clear debris and pull out all the dead”.

Television footage showed residents calming their crying neighbours while others helped rescuers sweep up shattered glass.

Lviv resident Vira Luben, a woman in her seventies, said the missile hit while people were sleeping.

Holding back tears, she said: "World – save and help us, because without you we will not manage to deal with them."

Andriy Yermak, head of Mr Zelenskyy's office, condemned the attack, called for more air defence systems from allies and urged Ukraine's western partners to accept it as a Nato member.

The military alliance holds a summit next week but some members are wary of any move that might take the alliance closer to war with Russia.

While Russia regularly pounds Ukraine with missiles, artillery and drones, Lviv, hundreds of kilometres from the front lines and about 70km from the Polish border, has largely been spared the aerial onslaughts.

Ukraine is under near-nightly bombardment by Russian forces, who often supplement missile barrages with dozens of Iran-made drone attacks.

The targets are often apartment blocks and critical infrastructure, such as power plants, in the capital, Kyiv.

However, other attacks are aimed at major cities outside Russian control, including Lviv and the southern port of Odesa.

Footage from the president's office and Ukrainian activist Iryna Voichuk showed emergency workers sifting through the debris of wrecked apartment buildings trying to locate survivors.

Thirteen people were killed in a Russian strike on a popular restaurant in the eastern city of Kramatorsk last month.

Two teenage sisters were among the dead while a popular Ukrainian writer later died of her wounds.

Updated: July 06, 2023, 9:13 AM