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“I ran to the window to pick up my cat, and then the explosion erupted”: Lviv residents recount largest Russian attack on the city

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On the night of July 6, Lviv experienced the largest attack by the Russian military since the beginning of the war, according to the city's mayor. The Ukrainian military reported the city being struck with Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea. The attack caused significant damage to the third and fourth floors of three residential buildings, resulting in casualties and people trapped under the rubble. At present, there are reports of five deaths, while rescue efforts continue. At the time of writing, injuries to thirty-six people have been confirmed, seven people have been rescued, and 64 have been evacuated. A two-day mourning period has been declared in Lviv.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine successfully intercepted and destroyed seven out of the ten Kalibr cruise missiles, according to an official statement issued by the military. The remaining three missiles struck civilian targets within the city. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the target of the attack in Lviv was «Western equipment and militants located on the military academy grounds.» Government-run propaganda outlet RIA Novosti wrote that the territory of the military academy housed “British Challenger tanks with a high degree of probability.” Additionally, barracks housing 800 servicemen were reportedly targeted.

Efforts to clear the rubble and rescue trapped individuals in Lviv continue. As of 6:00 p.m. Kyiv time, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (DSNS) has removed 140 cubic meters of debris, representing approximately 43% of the rubble. Nine tents have been set up to provide shelter, food, and psychological support to the victims, two of which were provided by the emergency services. Psychologists have so far offered assistance to 307 individuals. The DSNS has deployed 258 rescuers and 40 vehicles for the operation.

Lviv's mayor, Andriy Sadovyy, initially reported that the apartment building was struck by debris from a Russian missile. However, the head of the regional military administration, Maxim Kozitsky, claimed that it was a direct hit — a version supported by the prosecutor's office. According to the mayor’s estimates, a total of 35 homes in the city have been damaged as a result of the attack.

How is the city coping in the aftermath of the incident?

The victims of the incident included a 21-year-old girl as the youngest casualty and a 95-year-old woman who had endured World War II. Survivors are sharing their accounts with reporters and on social media, recounting their escape strategies and detailing their firsthand experiences. According to locals, they swiftly fled their homes, gathering their belongings and ensuring the safety of their pets. Eyewitnesses reported that the explosion occurred shortly after the alarm was raised, leaving little time for response.

“There was no gap at all – if there was any gap [we would’ve reached the shelter], and here you literally didn’t have time to run out, immediately I heard flashes, more flashes, and immediately the explosion,” says Lviv resident Viktoriya Zinik.

“I didn't have time to get ready to go to the bomb shelter, because everything happened suddenly, very quickly. All I had time to do – I hid in the corridor between two walls, and my dog was sitting next to me. My windows were completely broken, all the glass,” says local Iryna Shevchenko.

“I ran up to the window, because my cat was there. I wanted to pick it up,” local resident Anna Fedorenko, who was near the scene of the impact, told reporters. “That's all, I was hit and I fell down. The explosion was so strong. The first time I heard a hum, we were going to go to the bomb shelter. And then it hit a second time – and that was it. We didn't have time to go anywhere. The explosion erupted, I immediately fell down, the windows flew out, and the children were in the corridor, the grandchildren. Here are the cuts on my hands.”

Lviv's social networks have been inundated with numerous offers of assistance. Community members have expressed their willingness to provide overnight shelter, food, and clothing to those who have lost their homes. A local workshop has offered free glass of all sizes for individuals with broken windows, while a recycling company has extended their services to recycle broken glass and window frames at no cost.

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