The base outside Lviv that was attacked by Russian forces early on Sunday was a key link between Ukraine’s armed forces and Western militaries before the war — and has become an important logistics hub and training center for foreign fighters since Russia’s invasion began.
A Ukrainian military official said that up to 1,000 foreign fighters were training at the base — the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, which is also known as the Yavoriv military complex — as part of the new International Legion that Ukraine has formed to help fight Russia.
Before the war, troops from the United States, Britain, Canada, Poland, Latvia and other Western allies trained Ukrainian forces there, starting in the 1990s. One of the buildings that was hit in the attack was in an area where American, Canadian and other foreign military instructors had stayed before the invasion, according to a broadcast journalist for the U.S. Army who covered multinational training at the base.
Dozens of soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard had been training Ukrainian troops at the base as part of a NATO mission until Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered them to leave the country last month, days before the Russian invasion.
The base has also trained troops for peacekeeping operations that Ukraine has participated in, often as part of United Nations missions elsewhere in Europe and in Africa. Since the war began, Ukraine has recalled those peacekeepers, including a helicopter unit that had been deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Marc Santora and Yousur Al-Hlou contributed reporting.