Ukraine Russia, news on today’s war: more bombs in the night on the cities. Waiting for Biden-Xi Jinping phone call

Of Lorenzo Cremonesi, Andrea Nicastro, Marta Serafini, Paolo Foschi and Online Editorial

The minute-by-minute news on the war on Friday 18th March

The twenty-third day of the war opened with anti-aircraft sirens in action in numerous cities of Ukraine, Russian attacks continue unabated on the various fronts opened by the Moscow army. In Kiev the situation is increasingly dramatic, but the Ukrainians are not giving up and are preparing to face any assaults by the ground troops. In Mariupol the budget of the Russian bombing of the amateur dramatics theater used by civilians as a refuge is still uncertain. Italian minister Dario Franceschini announced that our government will rebuild the theater.
• The Russian ground offensive still seems to be stalled and behind Moscow’s opening to dialogue there are precisely the unforeseen difficulties encountered on the ground and the losses suffered. Diplomacy at work, from several quarters there is little progress in the talksbut according to Ukrainian negotiator Podolyak it could take anywhere from a few days to a week and a half to resolve the controversial issues. US Secretary of State Blinken is skeptical: we do not see Moscow’s will to stop.
• In this uncertain situation, there is much anticipation today for the phone call between the American president Joe Biden and Chinese head of state Xi Jinping. The conversation between the leaders of the two world powers is important after the tensions of recent days, following the announcement by the United States about China’s possible support for Russia. However, analysts are divided on what to expect from this telephone summit.
• The President of the Draghi Council, confirming the plan of Italy aid to Ukraine (including the dispatch of weapons), at a press conference affirmed that part of Putin is willing to continue the war and Italy will not back down to defend the values ​​of democracy and peace.

2.51 am – The Chinese stock exchanges open down after the latest increases
The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.31% in the early stages, to 3,205.20 points, while the Shenzhen index lost 0.59% and stood at 2,120.44 points.

2.43 am – Kharkiv, huge fire after a Russian raid on a market
A massive fire broke out in a large market in Kharkiv after Russian missiles hit new targets in the Ukrainian city. The online Guardian reports it. There are currently no victims reported. The market had been closed since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The eastern Ukrainian city continues to be hit with heavy shelling and artillery fire.

2.05 am – Zelensky to the mercenaries enlisted by the Russians: the worst decision of your life


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned those seeking to join Russian forces in Ukraine that this would be the worst decision of your life, in a new video message posted last night on Facebook. Long life better than money offered for a short one, Zelensky said, stating that Ukraine has information that the Russian military is recruiting mercenaries from other countries. Ukrainian forces still hold all key areas of the country, the president added.

1.52 – Hundreds of bulletproof vests destined for Ukraine have been stolen in New York
They had been donated by several law enforcement officers. This was announced by the police and the NGO responsible for the collection. The theft occurred at the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (Ucca) headquarters, where about 400 bulletproof vests were taken away, New York Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Jessica McRorie said. There have been no arrests and investigations are ongoing, she added. We don’t know why or how it happened, or who committed it, the spokesman said. The second-hand jackets were donated by the police in Long Island, New York, and were to be sent to aid workers who would deliver them across Ukraine by truck.

1.29 – UN, Russia raises accusations on the presence of biological weapons laboratories in Ukraine
Russia, after reporting that it will not ask the United Nations Security Council to vote on its draft resolution on humanitarian aid for Ukraine on Friday, will use the council’s scheduled session to re-raise allegations that the United States is handling crimes. biological laboratories in Ukraine. This was announced by the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia.

1.16 am – Canada offers three-year residence permits to Ukrainian refugees

Ottawa has announced that it is establishing a new immigration program that will offer Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion a temporary Canadian residence permit for up to three years. Canada, which has a large Ukrainian diaspora, especially in the center and west of the country, has stated that Ukrainians and their close family members of any nationality can remain in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years.

1.08 am – Mariupol is hit every day from 50 to 100 artillery shells
This was communicated by the city council. The city under blockade for sixteen days, more than 350,000 residents of Mariupol continue to hide in shelters and basements from the continuous bombing of the Russian occupation forces, written in the statement cited by CNN. About 80% of the city’s real estate assets have been affected, of which nearly 30% cannot be restored. Information on the victims of the attack on the theater used as a refuge, the council added, is still being clarified.

0.39 am – US Intelligence: from Putin nuclear threats if the war continues
Vladimir Putin can be expected to come to nuclear threats against the West if Ukraine continues to resist the Russian invasion. This is what emerges from a new report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, quoted by Bloomberg. Extensive occupation of parts of Ukrainian territory threatens to reduce the number of Russian armed forces available, as well as its modernized arsenal of weapons, while the resulting economic sanctions could cause prolonged economic depression and a state of diplomatic isolation, said the Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of Dia. The combination of Ukrainian resistance and economic sanctions will threaten Russia’s ability to produce precision-guided ammunition, he said in a hearing in the US House Armed Services Commission. As this war and its aftermath slowly diminish Russia’s conventional strength, Barrier added, the country will likely rely on its nuclear deterrent to project force onto its audiences at home and abroad.

0.34 am – Kiev: 320 thousand Ukrainians returned from abroad to defend the country
More than 320,000 people have returned to their homeland to help Ukraine fight since Russia began invading the country. The estimate, according to CNN, of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service. Our kids don’t give up, so we have to help, we have to fight for our country. Ukraine must be free, like all people, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service tweeted.

0.25 am – Another Ukrainian mayor arrested by the Russians
Another mayor was arrested in Ukraine by Russian troops. This is Viktor Tereshchenko, mayor of the village of Velykoburlutska, in the north-eastern region of Kharkiv, according to reports from CNN. The news was made known in a video by Oleh Syniehubov, head of the regional administration of Kharkiv. Tereshchenko, Syniehubov points out, was taken from his workplace and taken to the local police station. The new arrest took place a day after the release of the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, who was exchanged for nine Russian prisoners a few days after being kidnapped. Reached by the BBC, Fedorov said that during his detention he was kept secret in a room under the guard of Russian soldiers, but stressed that he had not suffered violence.

0.07 am – 8 humanitarian corridors are active out of 9 agreed upon
Eight of the nine humanitarian corridors agreed for today in Ukraine have worked, allowing the evacuation of civilians, including from the city of Mariupol, from which more than 2,000 people have left. This was stated by the Ukrainian minister responsible for operations, Iryna Vershchuk, quoted by the CNN. The minister said about 800 private vehicles left Mariupol and crossed Russian-controlled territory reaching the city of Zaporizhzhia in the evening. Only one of the corridors, the one from Kharkiv to Vovchansk, near the Russian border, could not be opened due to Russian bombing, according to Vershchuk.

0.00 am – Russian raids in the Lugansk region
Bombing by Russian forces continues on the part of the Ukrainian province of Lugansk controlled by the Ukrainian army. This was stated by the governor of the province, Serhiy Haidai, as reported by local media.


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