‘I saw when the rocket hit the ground,’ father says day after Russian airstrikes on military base near Lviv

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Until Sunday morning, the Lviv region in western Ukraine was a safe haven in a war-torn country.

It was there that families living further east sent their children to ensure their safety.

Vasyl Kunets, a driver who lives in Novoyavorivsk, a town about 20 miles from Lviv, said that so far when the sirens indicating a potential airstrike went off, he wasn’t too worried. He would go safely, but maybe not as fast as he should have.

The war was still far away.

Everything changed when Russian strikes hit the Yavoriv military training ground on the outskirts of Novoyavorivsk and killed 35 people, the Lviv regional administration said on Sunday.

More than 30 missiles fired from warplanes over the Black Seas and Azov hit the military base, Maksym Kozytsky, head of the Lviv regional military administration, said in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday.

Suddenly, war was at Kunets’ doorstep.

The training base is intimately linked to the life of the city. Many of its residents are employed there or in the services that support it. Those who don’t work there directly know someone who works there.

Kunets saw the damage they inflicted first hand.

“I saw when the rocket hit the ground, I saw the explosion and the smoke, a mushroom of smoke and fire,” he told CNN.

“It lasted 30 minutes and I heard maybe eight hits, maybe rockets crashing or part of rockets exploding separately, I don’t know.”

Kunets told CNN the attack on the base “changed everything.”

“We are worried now. I am not worried about myself but about my children. People are worried about the safety of their families and some of them are considering moving elsewhere,” he said.

Kunets said he is now considering sending his two children out of Ukraine, which he had not necessarily considered before.

“It seems less safe and more dangerous. Yesterday and the day before yesterday we were more relaxed and when we heard the alarms we didn’t move so fast, we didn’t take it too seriously. But today today we are packing and we are ready to leave very quickly when we hear the alarm,” he said.

CNN’s Sofiya Harbuziuk contributed reporting for this post.


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