Latest Attack May Indicate Change in Russian Strategy

US, Ukrainian officials say Putin is expanding his targets
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Russia May be Broadening Targets: Officials
A family walks out of a basement used as shelter during an air-raid alarm Sunday in Novoiavorisk, western Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Russia's missile attack on a base less than 15 miles from Poland could signal a change in strategy, US and Ukrainian officials said Sunday. Until now, Russia mostly has fired on targets in the east and south of Ukraine, Politico reports. The attack Sunday was the third against a military target or airfield in western Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on ABC's This Week. "At least from an air strike perspective," he said, "they're broadening their target sets." Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, the deputy mayor of Lviv said the strikes were "like a new edge in this war."

Until Sunday, people in western Ukraine had felt they were living in relative safety, NPR reports. Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who's in Poland, a NATO member, said the attack just across the border could be heard there. "People are just distraught," he told CNN. Jake Sullivan, President Biden's national security adviser, said the attack reflects Russian President Vladimir Putin's frustration at his stalling attacks on cities. So "he’s lashing out, and he’s trying to cause damage in every part of the country," Sullivan said on CNN's State of the Union.

US officials have warned that Russia may be planning to use chemical weapons against Ukraine, and Sullivan repeated Biden's warning that Russia would "pay a severe price" for that. Ukraine's foreign minister said Sunday that his country is not counting on NATO to help in the event of a chemical weapons attack. "We say arm Ukraine and we will do the rest," Dmytro Kuleba said on CBS. "Give us all the weapons necessary, and we will fight for our own land and for our people." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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