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Russia Fires Missiles At Ukrainian Base Near Polish Border.

Smoke rises from burning fuel tanks that locals said were hit by Russian rockets at the Vasylkiv air base near Kyiv. Another base in Yavoriv in western Ukraine has also reportedly been attacked.

Smoke rises from burning fuel tanks that locals said were hit by Russian rockets at the Vasylkiv air base near Kyiv. Another base in Yavoriv in western Ukraine has also reportedly been attacked.

Russia fired eight missiles at a Ukrainian military base close to the border with Poland early on March 13 as Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskiy warned Russian forces that they face a fight to the death if they try to occupy the capital, Kyiv, whose residents woke to the sound of air raid sirens.

"The occupiers launched an air strike on the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security" in Yavoriv, the Lviv regional military administration said in a statement posted on social media. "According to preliminary data, they fired eight missiles."

Live Briefing: Russia Invades Ukraine

RFE/RL's Ukraine Live Briefing gives you all of the latest on Russia's unprovoked invasion of its neighbor, how Kyiv is fighting back, the plight of civilians, and Western reaction . The Live Briefing presents the latest developments and analysis, updated throughout the day.

First reports suggested "there are no dead, but information about the injured and wounded is being clarified," said Anton Mironovich, a spokesman for the Academy of Land Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, cited by the Interfax Ukraine news agency.

The 360 square-kIilometer facility less than 25 kilometers from the Polish border, is one Ukraine's biggest and the largest in the western part of the country. Ukraine holds most of its drills with NATO countries there.

Separately, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine said the city's airport was targeted in a strike.

"According to preliminary information, this morning's explosions were from an attack on the airport," mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv said on Facebook .

"If they decide to carpet bomb and simply erase the history of this region...and destroy all of us, then they will enter Kyiv. If that's their goal, let them come in, but they will have to live on this land by themselves," Zelenskiy said on March.

The president, who has repeatedly appeared on social media from the capital, said some small towns no longer existed in the third week of Russian attacks.

Russian shelling has trapped thousands of people in besieged cities and sent 2.5 million Ukrainians fleeing to neighboring countries.

Seven Ukrainian civilians, including a child, died on March 12 when Russia shelled a humanitarian convoy of refugees and forced them to turn back, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said.

The seven were among hundreds of people who tried to flee the village of Peremoha, 20 kilometers northeast of Kyiv. An unknown number of people were wounded in the shelling, the report added.

Moscow has said it would establish humanitarian corridors out of conflict zones, but Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of disrupting those paths and firing on civilians.

On March 12, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said just nine of 14 agreed-upon corridors were open, and that about 13,000 people were evacuated on them around the country.

At least 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion 17 days ago, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Zelenskiy said Moscow was sending in new troops after Ukrainian forces put 31 of Russia's battalion tactical groups out of action in what he called Russia's largest army losses in decades.

"We still need to hold on. We still have to fight," Zelenskiy said in a video address late on March 12, his second of the day. Saying about 1,300 Ukrainian troops had been killed, he urged the West to get more involved in peace negotiations.

Zelenskiy discussed the Russian invasion with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who urged Putin to order an immediate cease-fire.

A Kremlin statement on their 75-minute call made no mention of a truce. A French presidency official said: "We did not detect a willingness on Putin's part to end the war."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accused the United States of escalating tensions and said the situation had been complicated by convoys of Western arms shipments to Ukraine that Russian forces considered "legitimate targets," according to the comments reported by TASS.

Crisis talks between Moscow and Kyiv have been continuing by video link, said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, according to Russia's RIA news agency. He gave no details, but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv would not surrender or accept any ultimatums.

Russian rocket attacks on March 12 destroyed a Ukrainian air base and hit an ammunition depot near Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region, Interfax Ukraine quoted its mayor as saying.

The exhausted-looking governor of Chernihiv, around 150 kilometers northeast of Kyiv, gave a video update in front of the ruins of the city's Ukraine Hotel.

"There is no such hotel any more," Viacheslav Chaus said, wiping tears from his eyes. "But Ukraine itself still exists, and it will prevail."

Britain's Defense Ministry has said Russian ground forces were massed 25 kilometers from the center of Kyiv, while Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and the key Black Sea port of Mariupol remained encircled under heavy Russian shelling.

The UN humanitarian office said the people trapped in Mariupol were desperate.

"There are reports of looting and violent confrontations among civilians over what little basic supplies remain in the city," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on March 12. "Medicines for life-threatening illnesses are quickly running out, hospitals are only partially functioning, and the food and water are in short supply."

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said on March 12 that Russian forces shelled a mosque in Mariupol, where more than 80 adults and children, including Turkish citizens, were taking shelter. The ministry did not say if there were any people killed or wounded.

Mariupol's death toll has passed 1,500 in 12 days of attack, the mayor's office said. Shelling forced crews to stop digging trenches for mass graves, so the “dead aren't even being buried," the mayor said.

A deadly strike on a maternity hospital in the city this week sparked international outrage and war-crime allegations.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, AP, and Reuters

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