Russian missiles hit near Lviv airport as leaders call for investigation into attacks on civilians

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent reports as the war comes to the city of Lviv

Russian missiles have hit an area near the airport in Lviv as Russia widens attack against western parts of Ukraine previously considered relatively safe.

At least three explosions were reported near the airport on Friday morning, although the city's mayor said there have been no immediate reports of casualties.

Andriy Sadovy added several rockets hit an aircraft maintenance facility, destroying several buildings.

Not far from the Polish border and well behind the front lines, Lviv and the surrounding area has not been spared Russia's attacks, the worst of which killed nearly three dozen people last weekend at a training facility near the city.

It has also become a centre for refugees due to its regional importance and proximity to the EU.

The UN migration agency said Friday that nearly 6.5 million people have been displaced inside Ukraine, on top of the 3.2 million who have already fled the country.

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports from Kyiv, where an apartment building was struck.

The UN also said: “Over 12 million people are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation.”

Elsewhere, Mr Putin appeared at a huge patriotic rally in Moscow telling a giant crowd "we have not had unity like this for a long time.”

Moscow police said more than 200,000 people were in and around the Luzhniki stadium for the celebration marking the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, seized from Ukraine.

The event included patriotic songs, including a performance of “Made in the USSR,” with the opening lines “Ukraine and Crimea, Belarus and Moldova, it’s all my country".

In Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry said on Friday it was "tightening the noose" around the besieged city of Mariupol, where officials said more than 1,000 people may still be trapped in makeshift bomb shelters beneath a destroyed theatre.

Fighting has intensified in the besieged coastal city in recent days, with desperate scenes of rescue workers searching for survivors in the ruins of a theatre.

Reports have suggested the fighting in the Mariupol has now reached the city centre, according to the BBC.

Elsewhere in the country, early morning barrages also hit the northern edges of the capital, Kyiv, killing at least one person in Podil, a neighborhood just north of the city centre after a residential block of flats was hit.

Footage shows smoke rising in Lviv.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko told Sky News the conflict was a "war against civilians" as he surveyed the damage from the latest attacks in the capital.

In Merefa, near the northeast city of Kharkiv, at least 21 people were killed on Thursday when Russian artillery destroyed a school and a community centre, a local official said.

Back in Lviv, prams have been lined up in the city centre in memory of the 109 children killed in the war.

On the diplomatic front, US President Joe Biden spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.

The US said Mr Biden pressed the "consequences" of China supporting Russia materially in the conflict on Mr Jinping.

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo offers analysis on US President Joe Biden's call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Reports in recent days have suggested China as been sending some military equipment to Russia to help with the invasion.

The Chinese readout of the call said the two sides agreed that as the world's largest economies and permanent members of the UN Security Council they had to "shoulder our share of international responsibilities and work for world peace and tranquillity."

The readout did not mention Russia but did allude to previous statements where the Chinese said the crisis had been as a result of NATO expansion, not Russian aggression.

Britsh Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he had spoken to his counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and praised "the steadfast resistance of the Ukrainian people in the face of aggression."

The United Nations political chief Rosemary DiCarlo, called for an investigation into civilian casualties, reminding the UN Security Council on Thursday that international humanitarian law bans direct attacks on civilians.

She said many of the daily attacks battering Ukrainian cities “are reportedly indiscriminate” and involve the use of “explosive weapons with a wide impact area.”

Ms DiCarlo said the devastation in Mariupol and Kharkiv ”raises grave fears about the fate of millions of residents of Kyiv and other cities facing intensifying attacks.”

The World Health Organization said it has verified 43 attacks on hospitals and health facilities, with 12 people killed and 34 injured.

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In remarks early on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy said he was thankful to Mr Biden for additional military aid, but he would not get into specifics about a new package pledged on Thursday, saying he did not want Russia to know what to expect.

He said when the invasion began on February 24, Russia expected to find Ukraine much as it did in 2014, when Russia seized Crimea without a fight and backed separatists as they took control of the eastern Donbas region.

Instead, he said, Ukraine had much stronger defences than expected, and Russia “didn’t know what we had for defence or how we prepared to meet the blow”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked US President Joe Biden for additional military aid Credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/AP

In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven leading economies accused Mr Putin of conducting an “unprovoked and shameful war,” and called on Russia to comply with the International Court of Justice’s order to stop its attack and withdraw its forces.

Both Ukraine and Russia this week reported some progress in negotiations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that some negotiators were breaking into working groups.