Russia-Ukraine crisis updates | March 18, 2022

Here are the latest developments from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

March 18, 2022 08:17 am | Updated March 19, 2022 03:31 am IST

People wait to board a coach, to be evacuated abroad, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Odessa, Ukraine March 18, 2022.

People wait to board a coach, to be evacuated abroad, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Odessa, Ukraine March 18, 2022. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading economies are calling on Russia to comply with the International Court of Justice’s order to stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw its military forces.

On Friday, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram that several missiles hit a facility used to repair military aircraft and damaged a bus repair facility, though no casualties were immediately reported. At least 21 people were killed and 25 were injured on Thursday when Russian forces shelled a town in eastern Ukraine, local prosecutors said.

President Joe Biden will speak on Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss ongoing economic competition between the two countries and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Kremlin, on Thursday, rejected the U.N.’s top court’s ruling that ordered Russia to immediately suspend military operations in Kyiv. The U.N.’s International Court of Justice had ruled on Wednesday that Moscow should “immediately suspend military operations that it commenced on February 24 on the territory of Ukraine.

Russia’s attacks continued as world leaders intensified their condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to suspend its invasion of Ukraine, saying it was “profoundly concerned” by Moscow’s use of force.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, announcing that he is sending more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones to Ukraine.

The conflict began escalating on February 21, 2022, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed troops in a peacekeeping role.

Here are the latest updates:


World Food Programme says food supply chains 'falling apart' in Ukraine

A World Food Programme (WFP) official said on Friday that food supply chains in Ukraine were collapsing, with a portion of infrastructure destroyed and many grocery stores and warehouses empty.

"The country's food supply chain is falling apart. Movements of goods have slowed down due to insecurity and the reluctance of drivers," Jakob Kern, WFP Emergency Coordinator for the Ukraine crisis, told a Geneva press briefing by videolink from Poland.


Putin appears at big rally as troops press attack in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at a huge flag-waving rally at a Moscow stadium and praised his country’s troops Friday as they pressed their lethal attacks on Ukrainian cities with shelling and missiles.

“Shoulder to shoulder, they help and support each other,” Mr. Putin said in a rare public appearance since the invasion three weeks ago that made Russia an outcast among nations. “We have not had unity like this for a long time,” he added to cheers from the crowd.

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. - AP


Body of student killed in Ukraine arriving India on Sunday: Karnataka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said Naveen S.G., killed in shelling in Ukraine on March 1, would arrive in Bengaluru on Sunday.

“Naveen’s body will arrive in Bengaluru on Sunday at 3 a.m.,” Mr. Bommai told reporters.

A fourth year medical student in Kharkiv city, Naveen was killed when he ventured out of his bunker to get some food, water and exchange money.

The 22-year-old student from Chalageri village in Ranebennur Taluk of Haveri in Karnataka was the second son of Shekarappa Gyanagouda Gyanagouda has been demanding his son’s body to be brought to India for final rites. - PTI


China says photo of its troops at Russian border is fake news

China has dismissed as fake news rumours about sending troops to Russia, including a “cropped” picture showing a fully-loaded Chinese military truck convoy at the border with Russia, according to a media report on Friday.

A photo circulating on Twitter is a cropped version of a picture first published in 2021, China’s internet watchdog said.

China had earlier denied reports that Russia had asked it for military support in its Ukraine military offensive.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s internet watchdog, said on Thursday that there were many fake news reports online aimed at discrediting China’s position on the war in Ukraine, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Friday. - PTI


Bulgaria expels 10 Russian diplomats

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry on Friday announced the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats for breaching international conventions on diplomatic ties.

The formulation used by the ministry is often used to designate espionage. Sofia expelled two Russian diplomats earlier this month for similar reasons. - AFP


Missiles damage buildings near Lviv airport

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Friday on Telegram that several missiles hit a facility used to repair military aircraft and damaged a bus repair facility, though no casualties were immediately reported.

The plant had suspended work ahead of the attack, the mayor said.

The missiles that hit Lviv were launched from the Black Sea, but two of the six that were launched were shot down, Ukrainian air force’s western command said on Facebook. - AP


Ukraine hopes nine humanitarian corridors will operate on Friday

Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians on Friday through nine humanitarian corridors from cities and towns on the front line of fighting with Russian forces, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. -Reuters


Missiles destroy aircraft repair plant in Lviv - mayor

Several missiles have hit an aircraft repair plant in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Friday morning, destroying its building, city mayor Andriy Sadovy said.

The plant had been stopped and there were no casualties from the strike, he said. -Reuters


Russia sets up no-fly zone over Ukraine’s Donbass, claims a separatist official

Russia has established a no-fly zone over Ukraine’s Donbass region, according to a separatist official from the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Interfax news agency said on Friday. - Reuters 


India deeply concerned over deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine: Tirumurti

India, which ensured the safe return of about 22,500 of its citizens from Ukraine, also assisted in the evacuation of nationals from 18 other countries, India’s top envoy at the UN has said, as he voiced concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the war-torn country.

Speaking at the UN Security Council Briefing on Ukraine on Thursday, Mr. Tirumurti said there was an “urgent need” to address the humanitarian needs of the affected population. -PTI


Japan slaps new sanctions on Russian defence officials, arms exporter

Japan said on Friday it will impose sanctions against 15 Russian individuals and nine organisations, including defence officials and state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

The sanctions, which include asset freezing, are the latest in a series of measures by Japan following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Japan has now slapped sanctions on 76 individuals, seven banks and 12 other organisations in Russia, according to the finance ministry. -Reuters


Zelenskyy mum on specifics of new U.S. aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was thankful to U.S. President Joe Biden for the additional military aid but said he would not say specifically what the new package included because he didn’t want to tip off Russia.

“This is our defence,” he said in his nighttime video address to the nation. “When the enemy doesn’t know what to expect from us. As they didn’t know what awaited them after Feb. 24,” the day Russia invaded. “They didn’t know what we had for defence or how we prepared to meet the blow.” -AP


Bipartisan group of lawmakers urge India to speak out against Putin

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Thursday urged India to speak out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The lawmakers, led by Congressman Joe Wilson and Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, had a call with India’s top envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu where they discussed the matter.

Appreciated the opportunity to join Wilson in a bipartisan call with Ambassador Sandhu, urging India to speak out against Putin’s targeting of civilians in Ukraine, Mr. Khanna said. -PTI


Slovakia sets terms for sending S-300s to Ukraine

Slovakia said Thursday it was willing to provide its Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Ukraine but only on the condition that it receive a substitute to avoid a NATO security gap.

“We’ve been in discussion with the United States, with Ukraine and also with other allies on the possibility to deploy or to send altogether our S-300 systems to the Ukrainians,” Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad told reporters.

“We’re willing to do so immediately when we have a proper replacement,” he added alongside U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in Bratislava. -AFP


PayPal enables customers to send money to Ukrainians

PayPal said on Thursday that its users will now be able to send money to Ukrainians, both in the war-ravaged country as well as those now refugees across Europe.

Previously, people in Ukraine were only able to use the payments platform to send money out of the country. They will now be able to receive funds, as well as make transfers within Ukraine and abroad.

It’s the latest measure by banks and other financial services companies looking for ways to help Ukrainians impacted by Russia’s invasion. PayPal cut off Russia from its services last week. -AP


Italy set to curb use of Russian anti-virus software in public sector

Italy’s government is poised to curb the use of Russian anti-virus software in the public sector in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fearing Moscow could hijack the programs to hack key websites, officials said.

Franco Gabrielli, the state undersecretary for security, told the Senate on Tuesday that the government was working on rules to allow state bodies to pull the plug on software developed by the Russia-based Kaspersky Lab. -Reuters

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