Kyiv region police say American journalist killed by Russian forces in Irpin

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

It was where families living further east sent their children to keep them safe.

Vasyl Kunets, a driver who lives in Novoyavorivsk, a town about 20 miles from Lviv, said that up until now, when the sirens indicating a potential air raid went off, he was not too worried. He’d go to safety, but perhaps not as fast as he should have.

The war was still far away.

That all changed when Russian strikes hit the Yavoriv military training ground at the edge of Novoyavorivsk and killed 35 people, the Lviv regional administration said Sunday.

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

Suddenly, the war was on Kunets’ doorstep.

The training base is intertwined with life in the town. Many of its residents are employed there, or in services supporting it. Those who do not work for it directly know someone who does.

Kunets saw the damage they’ve inflicted first hand.

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

“It lasted 30 minutes and I heard maybe eight strikes, maybe some rockets crashing or part of rockets exploding separately, I do not know.”

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

“We are worried now. I’m not worried for myself but for my kids. People are worried about the safety of their families and some of them are considering moving somewhere else,” he said.

Kunets said he is now thinking about sending his two children away from Ukraine – something he did not necessarily consider before.

“It feels less safe and more dangerous. Yesterday and the day before yesterday we were more relaxed and when we heard the alarms we did not move so quick, we did not take it too seriously. But today we are packing and being ready to leave very fast when we hear the alarm, “he said.

CNN’s Sofiya Harbuziuk contributed reporting to this post.

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