Ukrainian officials have called Russia’s claims it has killed up to 180 foreign mercenaries during a strike on Yavoriv military base “pure Russian propaganda.”
The country’s Defense Ministry spokesperson Markiyan Lubkivsky told CNN that the claims are simply not true and that no foreigners have yet been confirmed among the dead at the training area, which is around 12 miles away from the Polish border and roughly 25 miles from Lviv, located in western Ukraine.
“This is not the truth. Pure Russian propaganda,” Lubkivsky said.
Lubkivsky’s comments come after Russia’s Defense Ministry on March 13 said that up to 180 “foreign mercenaries” and a large consignment of foreign weapons were destroyed in the attack at the Yavoriv International Center for Peacekeeping and Security.
Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a briefing that high-precision long-range weapons were used to strike the Ukrainian armed forces training centers at Yavoriv, as well as a separate facility in the village of Starichi.
“At these facilities, the Kyiv regime deployed a point for the training and combat coordination of foreign mercenaries before being sent to the areas of hostilities against Russian military personnel, as well as a storage base for weapons and military equipment coming from foreign countries,” Konashenkov said, according to the Moscow-based RIA news agency.
“As a result of the strike, up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large consignment of foreign weapons were destroyed. The destruction of foreign mercenaries who arrived on the territory of Ukraine will continue.”
The defense ministry added that Moscow would continue its attacks against foreign mercenaries.
The Lviv regional administration said in a statement on Sunday that at least 35 people were killed in the attack after around 30 missiles were fired from warplanes over the Black and Azov seas and hit the military base.
Another 134 people were hospitalized in the incident, Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytsky said in a Facebook statement.
Ukraine said foreign military instructors have previously worked at the Yavoriv military base. However, a NATO official told Reuters that there were no personnel from the alliance there.
Konashenkov’s comments come after Moscow warned on Saturday that it may target NATO countries’ supplies to Ukraine if they continue to supply weapons to the country.
“We warned the United States that the orchestrated pumping of weapons from a number of countries is not just a dangerous move, it is a move that turns these convoys into legitimate targets,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian state-run media on Saturday.
He added that Moscow had warned “about the consequences of the thoughtless transfer to Ukraine of weapons like man-portable air defense systems, anti-tank missile systems, and so on.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly called on Western nations to deliver more weapons to his country, specifically for Russian-made planes, so that it can defend itself amid the Russian attack.
Zelensky has also repeatedly called on the West to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that he would view any country that declares a no-fly zone over Ukraine as a participant in the “armed conflict.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed to defend “every inch of NATO territory,” calling an attack against one member of the alliance “an attack against all.”
From The Epoch Times