Day 23rd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)

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Russian aircraft, that was shot down in Ukraine
Russian aircraft, that was shot down in Ukraine

After 22 days of unprovoked aggression, the russian occupying forces lost their offensive potential and were stopped in all directions. The enemy has significant problems with logistics, continues to suffer losses. Russia is currently the most sanctioned country in the world. It is also finally lost its place among civilized countries of the World. On the previous day, the Russian Federation has been also excluded from the Council of Europe. That day also, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. And finally, US President Joe Biden calls Russia's Putin a 'war criminal' over the invasion of Ukraine

Brief facts:

  • US president Joe Biden labeled Vladimir Putin “a murderous dictator,” and “a pure thug” during an address for St Patrick’s day
  • 3,2 million refugees have fled Ukraine
  • Russia has lost up to 40% of its forces involved in the invasion of Ukraine
  • Russia has been officially excluded from the Council of Europe

Sources:

Latest news:

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Read more: US Senate Passes resolution condemning Putin as war criminal

23:52 Ukraine NOW: Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk admitted the possibility of changing the Constitution in the part of joining NATO amidst the negotiations with the Russian Federation. The Verkhovna Rada official shared his views during the marathon of Ukrainian TV channels.

Defense Express / Samples of Rusian equip, seized by Ukrainian military / Day 23rd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
Samples of Rusian equip, seized by Ukrainian military / Photo credit: 57 Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade named after kish otaman Kost' Hordiyenko

23:43 Operational Command "South": Ukrainian Armed Force servicemen supplemented their equipment with Russian trophies.

On March 18, as a result of combat between Ukrainian 57 separate motorized infantry brigade named after kish otaman Kost' Hordiyenko and a Russian company tactical group a number of equipment samples was seized:

  • 1PN night vision scopes – 6 units;
  • PGO-7 specialized optical sights – 3 units;
  • PK collimator sights – 5 units;
  • AKM-47 – 10 units;
  • RPO "Shmel" flamethrower – 8 units;
  • RPG-22 grenade launchers – 10 units;
  • RPG-7 grenade launchers – 3 units;
  • also, some Russian "communication means and junk" which are useless in modern warfare.

22:46 Presidential Office: over 9000 people were evacuated from hot spots today. Iryna Vereshchuk, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporary Occupied Territories informed on the results of the evacuation and delivery of aid via humanitarian corridors on March 18th:

  • 9,145 people were evacuated, only 7 out of 9 established corridors worked out;
  • among them, 4,972 people left besieged Mariupol for Zaporizhzhia, 1,124 of them are children; 4,173 people were evacuated from Sumy region; in the Kharkiv region, Russian forces violated the ceasefire regime, the corridors were closed;

According to the UN refugee agency, over 3,2 million people have fled the country.

22:24 Center for Countering Disinformation at the NSDC of Ukraine: today, a Ukrainian website with information about the captive Russian soldiers was cyber-attacked.

"Occupant" website (invaders-rf.com) provides information about Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine for their relatives. It was created by the staff of the National Security Defense Council of Ukraine, contains and posts all available information about Russian prisoners: their names, titles, locations, etc.

Over the last day, several massive DDoS-attacks were carried out to take the internet resource down. The total number of fake requests during the cyber-attack is estimated at over 170 mln.

21:30 Air Force: Yurii Ihnat, the Spokesperson for the Air Force Command told RBC.ua media about the current challenges that Ukrainian Air Force is facing today. Key points from the interview:

At the beginning of a full-scale war on February 24, the enemy launched a massive missile strike. Caliber, Iskander, X-55, X-101 and other missiles were launched on radar stations, anti-aircraft missile forces, military airfields and aircraft, plus the command posts. However, the Ukrainian Army was preparing for such scenarios, intelligence worked, so almost all equipment and people were successfully brought out from the fire.

Almost 100 Russian jets were taken down by air defense – out of 450 prepared for the war in Ukraine. The invaders' downed helicopters have already surpassed this number (out of 250).

There are enough pilots in Ukraine, there are not enough planes for everyone. If NATO provided at least two squadrons of jets (12 jets each), that would neutralize Russian advantage in the air or at minimum equalize the chances of Ukrainian aircraft against the invaders. If Ukraine is given Western F-15, F-16 jets, it would take only two to three weeks to train pilots to use them. There are many young specialists with flight experience, as well as reserve pilots.

Air defense systems are also needed. Soviet-age S-300 and "Buk" missile systems that are available in the Warsaw Pact countries would help a lot. But modern medium-range mobile systems are no problem for Ukrainian anti-aircraft gunners to master. "It is much easier to work on them than on the Soviet ones."

Despite several violations of NATO countries' airspace by Russian UAVs, they won't react to such minor threats as drones. But when the talks on providing Ukraine with aircraft began, Putin immediately put nuclear weapons on heightened alert. That forced Western countries to change their mind. "However, I am confident that US and British intelligence will know in advance when something global may happen," said Yurii Ihnat regarding possible global nuclear strikes on Ukraine's partners.

Defense Express / Yurii Ihnat, the Spokesperson for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Day 23rd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
Yurii Ihnat, the Spokesperson for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Photo credit: Air Force Command of Ukrainian Armed Forces

21:05 Presidential Office via Ukraine NOW: Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych told about the situation in Mariupol, which has been under siege for 20 days:

  • the nearest units of the Armed Forces are fighting hard north of Volnovakha city. They are outgunned by the forces of the enemy – and there is no chance for lifting the siege of Mariupol;
  • the enemy built there a powerful air defense, both from the air in Crimea and on the ground. There have been attempts to provide air support – and they have been unsuccessful;
  • there is no military solution to the situation in Mariupol now;
  • there is only a way of a political and diplomatic settlement.
Defense Express / Servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine have seized the Russian BMP-1 IFV in the Luhansk region / Day 23rd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
Servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine have seized the Russian BMP-1 IFV in the Luhansk region / Photo credit: the National Guard of Ukraine

20:49 National Guard of Ukraine: servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine seized the occupiers' equipment in the Luhansk region. The Guards wrote about it on their Facebook.

Near Kreminna city in the Luhansk region, Ukrainian Guards detected two infantry fighting vehicles of the Russian invaders. One BMP-1 grenade launcher.

"During the battle, the crew of another enemy BMP-1 could not withstand the fire and fled in disgrace, leaving behind weapons and equipment," the NGU wrote.

As a trophy, Ukrainian soldiers got a functional BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle with full ammunition suitable for combat missions and the elimination of its former owners.

Defense Express / Ukrainian servicemen defending the Ukrainian sky / Day 23rd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
Ukrainian servicemen defending the Ukrainian sky / Photo credit: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

20:24 General Staff: operational information as of 18:00, 18.03.2022. Key points:

  • In Dzhankoi city in temporarily occupied Crimea, school education was suspended. Russians plan to use the schools for housing their servicemen arriving in the city.
  • The occupiers are demoralized, suicide or self-mutilation cases became more frequent among them.
  • About 130 Russian servicemen of the 20th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District refused to take part in hostilities.
  • The military command of the Russian Federation plans to deploy some units from the 102nd Russian military base in Armenia to the territory of Ukraine.
  • Due to the lack of positive results and inability to fulfill the tasks, Russians plan to remove Colonel Vadym Pankov, commander of the 45th Special Brigade of the Special Forces of the Russian Air Force. He is accused of failing to perform a combat mission at the Hostomel airfield.
  • The pro-government Russian media continue to spread false information. They create and distribute staged propaganda videos through all available information channels, including in the countries of the European Union and the United States, in order to discredit the activities of the military-political leadership and the Defense Forces of Ukraine.

19:45 The Mariupol Town Council: People continue to be rescued from under rubble of Mariupol theater, no information about killed.

People continue to be rescued from under the rubble of the Mariupol Drama Theater destroyed by Russian invaders. There is currently no information about the killed.

People continue to be rescued from under rubble of Mariupol theater, no information about killed, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Mariupol theater after being bombed

"People continue to be rescued from under the rubble of the Mariupol Drama Theater destroyed by the Russian occupiers… According to preliminary information, there are no data about the killed. But there is information about one seriously injured person," the Mariupol Town Council posted on Telegram.

19:30 An adviser to the Head of the President's Office of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak: Russia's statements on talks are only their requests, our positions remain unchanged.

The statements of the Russian side are only their requests, which are intended only to provoke tension in the media, Ukrainian positions are unchanged, an adviser to the Head of the President's Office of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak has said.

An adviser to the Head of the President's Office of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak: Russia's statements on talks are only their requests, our positions remain unchanged, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
An adviser to the Head of the President's Office of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak

"Negotiation status. The statements of the Russian side are only their requesting positions. All statements are intended, inter alia, to provoke tension in the media. Our positions are unchanged. Ceasefire, withdrawal of troops and strong security guarantees with concrete formulas," Podoliak said in the statement on Twitter.

19:10 Interregional Center for Humanitarian Demining and Rapid Response of Ukraine warned Kharkiv citizens to be as much attentive as possible.

18:40 The Armed Forces of Ukraine: Javelin anti-tank system has set a record of the efficiency.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine state, that 100 out of 112 shots were accurate.

The Ukrainian army has set a record in the efficiency of using Javelin anti-tank systems, Defene Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Armed Forces of Ukraine official Twitter post

18:25 Hromadske independent Ukrainian media outlet: The journalist Viktoria Roshchyna have been detained by Russian occupiers.

On March 16, it was reported that Roshchyna had been detained by the Russian Federal Security Service probably on March 15. Currently, nothing is known about the woman's whereabouts.

Hromadske journalist Viktoria Roshchyna have been detained by Russian occupiers, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Hromadke journalist Viktoria Roshchyna

"Our journalist Viktoria Roshchyna must have been taken prisoner by Russian occupiers. She made videos and wrote articles from hotspots in eastern and southern Ukraine all days of the Russian-Ukrainian war," Hromadske posted on Facebook.

"We made every effort to release the journalist in a private manner. But it turned out to be ineffective," the media outlet said.

Hromadske calls on the Ukrainian and international community to join in the information campaign and action to liberate Roshchyna.

18:00 State Emergency Service: Warehouse with paint and varnish products on fire in Sumy due to shelling.

Amid artillery shelling on Friday in Sumy, a fire broke out in a warehouse building with paint and varnish products, the fire covered more than 6,000 square meters of territory, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

"On March 18, around 16:00, during the shelling, a one-story warehouse building with paint and varnish products on an area of more than 6,000 square meters caught fire. There were no preliminary victims or injured. 20 people and 4 pieces of equipment were involved from the State Emergency Service," the service said.

17:35 An adviser to the Office of the President Oleksiy Arestovych: Ukrainian Air Force military destroys advanced command post of 8th Combined Arms Army of Southern Military District of Russia at airfield in Chornobayivka.

Ukrainian Air Force military destroys advanced command post of 8th Combined Arms Army of Southern Military District of Russia at airfield in Chornobayivka, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
An adviser to the Office of the President Oleksiy Arestovych

"I want to inform you that the airfield in Chornobayivka (Kherson region), which the Russians use as their command post and the place of collection of aircraft, again pleased us with the result. The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine again struck and, according to preliminary data, destroyed the forward command post of the 8th army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Federation. This is exactly the direction that was responsible for ORDLO... According to preliminary data, the commander of this army died," Arestovych said at a briefing today.

17:20 Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment Captain Svyatoslav Palamar: Ukrainian defenders are waiting for deblocking of Mariupol and further reinforcement.

Situation in Mariupol, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment Captain Svyatoslav Palamar

On Telegram Captain Svyatoslav Palamar also mentions (English subtitles) active street battles and states that there are much more civil casualties than it’s officially said.

17:00 Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: We close the sky over Ukraine by ourselves.

Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine informs to have downed another fighter-bomber Sukhoi Su-34 earlier today. “Stinger” did the job, the jet fell down on temporarily uncontrolled area.

16:50 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted a new footage of freshly destroyed enemy military convoy in Sumy Oblast.

16:20 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for blocking European ports for Russian ships.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for blocking European ports for Russian ships, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for blocking all European ports for Russian ships.

"Until there is peace for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia should steadily increase. I am grateful to all public initiatives from around the world that propose restrictions on Russia not only at the state level, but also at the level of societies. In particular, I am grateful to the Swedish trade union of port workers, which promises not to service all ships connected with Russia. That's right. This is a good example that all public structures, all trade unions and business associations should emulate," Zelenskyy said in a video message earlier today.

16:10 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Ukraine needs advanced weapons.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that Ukraine should receive advanced weapons from partners.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Ukraine needs advanced weapons, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

"As much as we can, we shoot down Russian missiles. We destroy their planes and helicopters. And this despite the fact that we do not yet have adequate anti-missile weapons, advanced weapons. We don't have enough combat aircraft. But we have a goal, pure and fair, to protect our people, our state," he said in a video message on today.

16:00 Deputy Chief of Staff of the Land Forces Command, Brigadier General Oleksandr Hruzevych: Ukraine defenders doing utmost not to allow enemy to approach Kyiv any closer.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are doing everything possible to prevent the enemy from advancing further toward Kyiv.

Brigadier General Oleksandr Hruzevych, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Land Forces Command, spoke about this at a briefing, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Ukraine defenders doing utmost not to allow enemy to approach Kyv any closer, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Ukrainian-Russian war

"Every day, our commander drives around the capital and the region, checking the state of our forces’ readiness. I can assure you that the enemy will not advance further. They will be stopped," Hruzevych said.

According to the military official, a grouping of troops has been set up to defend the city of Kyiv and Kyiv region. There are two rings of defense to stop the enemy.

"In some districts, namely Brovary and Boryspil, the enemy refrained from active offensive. There are small attempts at action on the left bank of the Dnipro River, but they’ve also been unsuccessful," said the brigadier general.

He urged residents of cities and region not to ignore air raid alerts because shelters have a better chance of surviving enemy strikes. "We, the military, are calmer in performing our tasks when civilians are in shelters, in appropriate locations. Therefore, the alerts should not be neglected," he stressed.

15:45 Operational Command "North" on Facebook: Ukrainian military destroyed anti-aircraft missile system "Buk-M1" in Chernihiv region.

14:55 Liudmyla Denisova, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Right to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: More than 1,300 people remain trapped under the rubble of the Mariupol Drama Theater.

"As of this hour, we know that 130 people have been evacuated. However, according to our data, there are still more than 1,300 people who stay in those basements, in that bomb shelter. We pray that all of them will be alive, but at the moment there is no information about them," Denisova said.

Mariupol Drama Theater after the air strike by the russian aviation

She added that rescue work is underway, but no other details are available yet.

According to her, almost 70% of the city's houses have been damaged, and some of them will not be restored, which indicates there might be a large number of victims.

"Of course, the entire infrastructure has been destroyed. We need to deliver humanitarian aid, because people have been staying in the basements for 17 days without food. There's a lack of bread. Therefore, it is extremely important that there is an agreement on the transfer of humanitarian aid," Denisova said.

Ukrinform reported earlier that on March 16, Russian terrorists dropped an air bomb on the building of the Mariupol Drama Theater. The attack destroyed the central part of the theater and the entrance to the bomb shelter, which housed hundreds of people, mostly women and children. Due to constant shelling, rescuers could not begin rescue work.

13:20 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Operational information on 12.00, 18.03.2022 regarding the russian invasion to Ukraine.

The twenty-third day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to the russian military invasion continues.

russian occupation forces continue offensive operation against Ukraine. Strategic tasks related to the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, access to the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the establishment of control over the left bank of Ukraine remain unfulfilled. The enemy partially managed to temporarily occupy settlements and establish control over the routes in the Donetsk and Pivdennobuzhsky operational districts.

Day 23nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Russians are facing non-stop military losses on Ukrainian soil

The enemy is trying to take measures to increase the number of troops in the direction of Kyiv by moving uncoordinated and incompetent units from the Central and Eastern military districts.

Due to the consumption of almost all missile ammunition and some types of ammunition, the military-political leadership decided to transfer the enterprises of the russian military-industrial complex involved in the production of "Caliber" and ammunition to MLRS "Tornado" to round-the-clock .

No significant changes in the activities of the occupying forces have been recorded in the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky areas. The enemy focused on the fortification equipment of the occupied frontiers.

Day 23nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Total combat losses of the enemys fuel tanks (from 24.02 to 18.03) are 60 units

In the Slobozhansky and Sumy areas, units of the russian occupation forces are not conducting active offensive operations, the enemy is regrouping and trying to establish logistical support. The occupiers are more active in reconnaissance.

russian terrorist forces do not stop trying to capture the city of Izyum, strengthen the group by introducing additional units, take measures to organize engineering and logistics.

In the Luhansk region, the enemy intensified hostilities in the area of the village of Rubizhne, has partial success. It continues to shell unprotected civilian infrastructure in order to intimidate the local population and limit the actions of the defense forces.

In the Donetsk region, the enemy did not conduct active hostilities.

Day 23nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion, Defense Express
Enemy's combat losses from 24.02 to 18.03 is the following: Personnel - more 14 200, Tanks ‒ 450 units, APV ‒ 1448 units

In the Tavriya direction, the enemy is trying to establish a strict administrative and police regime in the temporarily occupied settlements of the Kherson region.

No active actions of the Russian occupiers were noted in the South Bug direction. The enemy continues to shell civilian infrastructure, increasing the logistics system of the group.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in close cooperation with other components of the Defense Forces, are resisting the russian aggressors, inflicting significant losses on their manpower and military equipment.

12:11 Serhii Borzov, the head of the Vinnytsia regional military administration: Three enemy cruise missiles were shot down over the Vinnytsia region.

"Day 23 of the war. No active hostilities are taking place in the Vinnytsia region. Today, three enemy cruise missiles were shot down," Borzov said.

According to him, the missiles were shot down by the air defense forces. "We are closing the sky with our own forces," the official added.

11:56 Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Head of Donetsk Regional Military Administration: On the morning of March 18, 2022, the Russian military launched a missile strike on Kramatorsk, Donetsk Region, leaving two people killed and six people wounded. The relevant statement was made by Kyrylenko on Facebook.

“In the morning, Russians launched a missile strike on Kramatorsk. A residential house and administrative building were hit. At the moment, two people were reported killed, six people wounded. Other details are yet to be investigated,” Kyrylenko wrote.

11:00 The UK Ministry of Defense: Russian forces have made 'minimal progress' this week.

The UK Ministry of Defense has just released its latest intelligence report on the situation in Ukraine, saying Russian forces have made “minimal progress” this week, - The Guardian reports.

The report reads: Russian forces have made minimal progress this week. Ukrainian forces around Kyiv and Mykolaiv continue to frustrate Russian attempts to encircle the cities. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain encircled and subject to heavy Russian shelling.

The UN now states that the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has already surpassed 3.2 million. This number will continue to rise as a result of ongoing Russian aggression.”

The UK Ministry of Defense: Russian forces have made 'minimal progress' this week, Defense Express

10:50 The former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told the Russian people they were being fed misinformation about their country’s invasion of Ukraine and appealed to their president, Vladimir Putin, to end the war.

In a video posted on Twitter, the Hollywood star said the Kremlin was intentionally lying to Russians by saying the invasion was intended to “denazify” Ukraine.

“Ukraine did not start this war, neither did nationalists or Nazis,” he said, noting that the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is Jewish.

10:40 Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office: Russian military kill 109 children in Ukraine.

As of March 18, 2022, a total of 109 children died in Ukraine due to the Russian armed aggression, - Ukrinform reports citing the relevant statement was made by the Prosecutor General’s Office on Telegram.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, Russian military kill 109 children in Ukraine, Defense Express
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office: Russian military kill 109 children in Ukraine / Photo credit: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

“As a result of the Russian armed aggression, as of March 18, 2022, a total of 109 children were killed and more than 130 children were wounded. Most casualties were recorded in Kyiv Region (55), Kharkiv Region (34), Donetsk Region (26), Chernihiv Region (29), Mykolaiv Region (20), Zhytomyr Region (15), Sumy Region (14) and Kherson Region (14),” the report states.

Due to Russian bombardments and shelling, more than 439 educational institutions were damaged, and 63 of them were destroyed completely. Most destructions were reported in Donetsk Region (126), Kharkiv Region (77), Mykolaiv Region (39), Sumy Region (32), Kyiv Region (41), Kherson Region (21) and the city of Kyiv (35).

The final data are yet to be reported, as it is impossible to inspect certain areas, where active hostilities are underway.

10:25 Operators of the Special Operations Forces destroys Tigr armored vehicle with russia’s high military official.

At the dawn, the Special Operations Forces (SSO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine liquidated Russia’s Tigr military vehicle with a high military official of the 35th Army, - Ukrinform reports citingthe relevant statement was made by the SSO Command Center on Facebook.

“The SSO Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine set up an ambush in the enemy’s rear at the dawn. With a targeted fire from the NLAW system, they liquidated Russia’s Tigr vehicle together with a high military official from the 35th Army. Also, having detonated a TM-62 mine remotely, they destroyed a BTR-82 carrying landing troops,” the report states.

Video of Ukraine’s SOF operators acting in the ambush was published in the report.

10:10 The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has posted the new summary of total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 18.03. Find them in an infographic by Defense Express:

So far, the list of enemy's combat losses is the following:

Personnel - more 14 200,

Tanks ‒ 450 units,

APV ‒ 1448 units,

Artillery systems – 205 units,

MLRS – 72 units,

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 43 units,

Aircraft – 93 units,

Helicopters – 112 units,

Vehicles – 879 units,

Boats / cutters - 3 units,

Fuel tanks - 60,

UAV operational-tactical level - 12 units,

Special equipment - 11.

Data are being updated. The calculation is complicated by the high intensity of hostilities.

09:50 Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovy: Lviv Aircraft Repair Plant destroyed with missile strikes.

Today the Russian military have launched a missile attack on Lviv Aircraft Repair Plant, destroying its buildings – Ukrinform reports citing the relevant statement was made by Lviv Mayor Andrii Sadovyi.

“Several missiles have hit the aircraft repair plant, destroying its buildings. Active operations at the plant were suspended timely. Thus, there are no casualties,” Sadovyi wrote.

Smoke rises after an explosion in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 18 Photograph: Yuriy Dyachyshyn, Defense Express
Smoke rises after an explosion in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 18 / Photo Credit: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images

In his words, rescuers and relevant municipal services are working at the scene.

In its turn the Air Forces of Ukrane Air Command “West” reports that Six cruise missiles were fired at Lviv from a submarine located in the Black Sea.

"According to preliminary data, six cruise missiles, possibly X-555, were fired from a submarine in the Black Sea," the report says.

"Two missiles were destroyed in the air by the anti-aircraft missile forces of the West air command," the report says.

09:35 The State Emergency Service of Ukraine: In Podilsky district of Kyiv, five-storey building on fire from hit by downed rocket, one person dies.

A fire in a residential building in Podilsky district of Kyiv occurred as a result of a hit by the remnants of a downed rocket on Friday morning, - the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reports on its official page on Facebook.

"There was a fire from the first to the third floor... According to preliminary information, 12 people were rescued, 98 people were evacuated, 4 people were injured. Unfortunately, one person died," the report says.

Information about the fire was received by rescuers at 08:04. Firefighting is currently ongoing. Eight units of fire equipment and 47 personnel are involved at the scene.

09:20 The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine: Russian troops destroy 90% of Mariupol town.

Russian troops have already destroyed 90% of Mariupol and killed thousands of town residents.

"Thousands killed by Russian invaders! 90% of the town was destroyed in attacks launched by Putin's soldiers. Russians hold Mariupol residents hostage by blocking humanitarian corridors. There is no electricity, gas or heat in the town," the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine posted on Facebook.

There is only continuous grief, fire, endless shelling from all kinds of fascist weapons, the Ministry adds.

Moreover, a missile strike by Russian invaders completely destroyed residential buildings in Kalynivka (Kyiv region). One woman was killed, a man was never found under the ruins.

"This is just one of the testimonies of numerous Russian fascist war crimes against civilians for which they will be held accountable in The Hague. We will take revenge on everyone killed and maimed: the enemy will be punished either in our territory or at the International Criminal Court,” the Defense Ministry posted.

08:55 Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office investigating 1,720 criminal cases over Russian aggression.

Since the beginning of the war, the Prosecutor General's Office has registered 1,720 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 1,137 crimes against national security.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office investigating 1,720 criminal cases over Russian aggression, Defense Express
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office official emblem

As the Prosecutor General's Office informs, 1,720 crimes of aggression and war crimes have been registered since the beginning of the war, including 1,672 cases over violation of the laws and customs of war (Article 438 of the Criminal Code), 28 – plotting, preparing, or initiating and waging an aggressive war (Article 437 of the Criminal Code). There are also cases over the propaganda of war initiated under Article 436 of the Criminal Code, and 16 cases opened under other articles.

In addition, 1,137 crimes against national security have been registered since February 24. Of these, 827 – over encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine (Article 110 of the Criminal Code), 224 – high treason (Article 111 of the Criminal Code), 43 – sabotage (Article 113 of the Criminal Code), and others.

Moreover, the Prosecutor General's Office has brought charges against 68 people among the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation, including ministers, MPs, military command members, officials, law enforcement officials, instigators of war, and Kremlin propagandists.

08.10 Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovy: russia’s missiles hit the area near Lviv airport

“Rashist missiles hit the area near Lviv airport.

I can't say the address in real time yet, but it's definitely not an airport. The windows in the buildings of our ATP-1 (ed. - local trucking company) are damaged.

The situation on the spot is being clarified and will be published later.

Be careful, follow the instructions in case of air alarm and do not share photos from the place of shelling,” – Mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovy posted on Facebook.

08.00 The World Health Organization: 12 killed in 43 attacks on health care in Ukraine

The World Health Organization has said the war in Ukraine is having “devastating consequences for the health of Ukraine’s people; consequences that will reverberate for years or decades to come” during remarks made at the United Nations security council meeting on Thursday, March 17.

The WHO said they have so far verified 43 attacks on health care, with 12 people killed and 34 injured, including health workers.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus said:

WHO has verified 43 attacks on health care, with 12 people killed and 34 injured, including health workers. In any conflict, attacks on health care are a violation of international humanitarian law.”

The disruption to services and supplies in Ukraine is posing an extreme risk to people with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV and TB, which are among the leading causes of mortality in Ukraine, Ghebreyesus added.

Services for mental health and psychosocial support are also urgently needed to help those in Ukraine cope with the effects of the war.

“There are more than 35,000 mental health patients in Ukrainian psychiatric hospitals and long-term care facilities, which are facing severe shortages of medicines, food, heating, blankets and more,” the director-general said.

The agency said have sent about 100 metric tonnes of medical supplies to Ukraine, including oxygen, insulin, surgical supplies, anaesthetics, and blood transfusion kits – enough for 4,500 trauma patients and 450,000 primary health care patients, for one month.

“We have now established supply lines from our warehouse in Lviv to many cities of Ukraine, but challenges with access remain. We need unfettered access,” WHO said, adding that critical supplies ready for UN joint convoys are ready to enter difficult areas, but so far have not been successful.

A UN convoy to Sumy that included a WHO truck carrying critical medical supplies was unable to enter on Thursday and loads ready for Mariupol remain in staging areas and cannot proceed.

07:25 U.S. Representative to the United Nations: Russia will be held accountable for its atrocities against Ukraine.

The Russian Federation, led by Putin, will be held accountable for the killings and other atrocities committed by its military in Ukraine.

“Russia will be held accountable for its atrocities. There is only one way – one way – to end this madness. President Putin: Stop the killing. Withdraw your forces. Leave Ukraine once and for all,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, said at the UN Security Council meeting.

She stressed that the day before the UN International Court of Justice had ordered the Russian Federation to stop invading Ukraine. Russia, however, continues to openly violate international law, Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

U.S. Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Defense Express
U.S. Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

“Russia’s brutal tactics have killed civilians, medics, and some of the journalists who have been showing us all the truth of this war. Russia has attacked so much of what we hold sacred and everything – everything – the United Nations stands for. Russia’s actions must be condemned in no uncertain terms,” the U.S. Representative to the United Nations said.

The diplomat reiterated the statement by U.S. President Biden who said that Ukraine would never be a victory for Putin.

“No matter what advances he makes, no matter whom he kills or what cities he destroys, Ukraine will never be a victory for him. The United States stands with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, and we will do everything – everything – in our power to end this tragic unnecessary war,” Thomas-Greenfield stressed.

07:00 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Operational information on 06.00, 18.03.2022 regarding the russian invasion to Ukraine.

The twenty-third day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to the russian military invasion began.

The state, position and nature of the actions of the defense forces have not changed significantly during the last day. The Armed Forces of Ukraine continued to strike devastating blows at groups of enemy troops trying to consolidate and hold the captured defensive lines.

During the past 24hrs, Ukrainian defenders have partially destroyed and halted the advance of units of the 437th Training Regiment and the 26th Tank Regiment of the Armed Forces of the russian federation into Ukraine, and the enemy's losses are being clarified.

Also, for the previous day, bombing and assault aircraft of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine inflicted heavy blows on the columns of enemy military equipment. Anti-aircraft missile forces and fighter jets hit 14 enemy air targets (7 planes, 1 helicopter, 3 UAVs and 3 cruise missiles).

Due to the fact that the occupiers have significantly exhausted human resources (irreversible and sanitary losses caused by units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, cases of self-mutilation, in order to evade hostilities and psychogenic losses), the command of the armed forces of the russian federation is forced to extreme measures in matters of staffing. They are conducting covert mobilization, attracting so-called "volunteers", conscripts and cadets, as well as mercenaries from the Syrian Arab Republic.

In some temporarily occupied territories, the Russian occupiers are trying to create a positive image by distributing food to the civilian population. At the same time, they are actively searching for and detaining pro-Ukrainian activists, civil servants, members of the Anti-Terrorist Operation / Joint Forces Operation and members of their families, as well as other citizens who may organize resistance to the occupation.

The enemy continues to suffer losses. They have problems with providing units. The low moral and psychological condition of the personnel leads to an increase in the number of desertions and refusals of servicemen of the armed forces of the russian rederation and mercenaries to take part in the war against Ukraine.

06:00 US president Joe Biden labelled Vladimir Putin “a murderous dictator,” and “a pure thug” during an address for St Patrick’s day.

Biden said Putin was paying the price for his aggression, while detailing his planned call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The call comes at western countries look to put pressure on China not to support Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, - The Guardian reports.

View the footage of his remarks in the video below.

04:30 Canada 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 centre and west of the country, said in a statement that “Ukrainians and their immediate family members of any nationality may stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years,” - The Guardian reports

Applicants are required to apply online and provide their biometric data in the form of fingerprints and a photo.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with bakery owner Maria Janchenko during a brief visit to Janchenko Bakery in Toronto, Thursday, March 17, 2022, Defense Express
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with bakery owner Maria Janchenko during a brief visit to Janchenko Bakery in Toronto, Thursday, March 17, 2022 / Photo credit: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

Ukrainian refugees can simultaneously apply for a work and study permit.

Ukrainians and their families already settled on Canadian soil will also benefit from the new measures and can “extend their visitor status or work permit for 3 years, apply for a new work or study permit, or extend their existing permit.”

03:10 The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Ukrainian air defense downs 14 enemy air targets in past 24 hours

Over the past day, the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces have destroyed 14 enemy targets, - Ukrinform reports citing the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian air defense downs 14 enemy air targets Thursday, March 18, Defense Express
Combat work of the air defense of Ukraine / Photo credit: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Ukrainian fighter jets fought several aerial battles, in which they hit two air targets: a fighter jet and an attack aircraft.

Bombers and assault aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force inflicted heavy blows on enemy’s armored convoys and vehicles providing support to the Russian invading troops.

Anti-aircraft missile forces report the destruction of five more Russian aircraft, the types of which are being verified.

The Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian air defense downs 14 enemy air targets Thursday, March 18, Defense Express
Ukrainian fighter jets on Thursday, March 18, fought several aerial battles, in which they hit two air targets: a fighter jet and an attack aircraft

So on March 17, the air defense forces of Ukraine destroyed a total of at least 14 air targets: seven aircraft, a helicopter, three unmanned aerial vehicles, and three cruise missiles.

01.30 The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to mercenaries planning to join Russian military: This would be ‘the worst decision of your life.'

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned mercenaries who plan to join the Russian army to fight against Ukraine, saying it would be “the worst decision of your life.”

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Defense Express
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy

“We have information that the Russian military is recruiting mercenaries from other countries, trying to deceive as many young people as possible into military service,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address late night on Thursday, March 17.

“So now I warn everyone who will try to join the occupiers on our Ukrainian land. Long life is better than the money you are offered for a short one,” he said.

The President of Ukraine also said he will continue his speeches to the parliaments and squares of partner states to stop the war, restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and return to long-awaited peace.

00:45 General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine released operational information on 24.00, 17.03.2022 regarding the russian invasion in Ukraine.

russian occupation forces continue offensive operation against Ukraine. The strategic goals of defeating groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reaching the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and establishing control over the left-bank part of Ukraine have not been met.

The Command of the Armed Forces of the russian federation continues to take measures to make up for the loss of personnel at the expense of foreigners. According to available information, the russian occupiers have already picked up close 1,000 volunteers from the so-called army of Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah.

The main requirement for foreign fighters is the experience of fighting in the city. At the same time, according to available information, the above-mentioned militants do not intend to take part in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, but to use "business trips" as opportunities to get to European countries.

The enemy did not carry out offensive operations in the Volyn direction. He continued to strengthen the protection of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border by units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus. There is a high probability of provocations by the special services of the russian federation.

The enemy did not carry out active offensive operations in the Polissya direction, the main efforts of the occupiers were focused on maintaining the previously occupied borders and carrying out measures to prepare for a possible attack on Kyiv. At the same time, the losses inflicted on the occupiers by Ukrainian defenders, the low moral and psychological condition of privates and sergeants, as well as the lack of experienced commanders of tactical units make it impossible to resume offensive operations in the near future.

In the northern direction, the enemy is trying to stay on certain borders, restore the combat capability of units and replenish supplies. The occupiers continue to partially blockade the city of Chernihiv and carry out artillery shelling of the city.

In the direction of Brovary, the enemy did not conduct active hostilities.

In the area of the city of Brovary, the occupiers periodically carry out artillery shelling of the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In the Slobozhansky direction, in order to resume offensive operations on the cities of Sumy and Kharkiv, the occupiers are trying to replenish stocks of ammunition and fuel and oil and are forced to use the accumulated human reserves prematurely. In the direction of the city of Izyum, the enemy is trying to resume offensive operations.

In the Luhansk and Donetsk directions, the enemy focused its main efforts on preparing for the attack on Severodonetsk and the encirclement of Mariupol.

The enemy did not take active action in the Pivdennobuzsky direction. He moved on to the defense and engineering of the occupied frontiers. He tried to regroup and replenish stocks.

The occupiers continue to try to detect and destroy the air defense system along the Black Sea coast.

In the Black Sea, the enemy is trying to conduct demonstrations.

00:20 Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, spoke on a national telethon: After the war, unleashed by Russia, is over, Ukraine should join NATO or another alliance with nuclear powers.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov

"I am in favor of being in an alliance either with NATO or with nations that currently have nuclear weapons. That’s because nuclear arms are a safeguard you can count on. At one time, in 1994, we gave up our nuclear weapons for nothing as we had in mind that we should be protected because of this. We should have been provided with security guarantees if required, but we see that the country that signed all this violated the deal in 2014 and, unfortunately, bore no responsibility for this," Danilov said.

00:03 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have discussed support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, particularly in the defense area.

Zelensky said this in a statement posted on Twitter.

"Continued dialogue with French President Emmanuel Macron. Discussed the support for Ukrainians in the fight against Russian aggression, especially in the defense sphere. Emphasis was put on the continuation of peaceful dialogue. We must strengthen the anti-war coalition," Zelensky said.

Background:

February, 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a "special military operation" against Ukraine. A number of cities of Ukraine suffered a missile attack. Missiles hit several military facilities in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro cities. In a few hours, martial law was imposed in Ukraine.

The war lasts for two weeks now. An impressive rundown of the first days of war was provided by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his address to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Key points regarding the current state of warfare:

- Ukraine managed to establish the defense, Russian offense has stalled

- Belarus provides its lands to Russian troops and equipment; still hasn't joined the war directly

- Russia uses terroristic methods of war, shelling civilian facilities where there are no military facilities nearby, keeping cities in a full blockade, and sabotaging humanitarian corridors

- Humanitarian corridors: despite repetitive violations of ceasefire and shelling of evacuation transport, some of the humanitarian corridors work. Finally, the humanitarian corridor in Mariupol city worked out. Mariupol is currently in Russian blockade

- Russian army targets nuclear power plants; Chernobyl NPP and Zaporizhzhia NPP are seized by occupiers; military activities by Russian forces near the power plants were described by Ukraine as nuclear terrorism

- Ukraine urges NATO to close the sky over Ukraine or at least provide air defense equipment

- Ukraine appealed for EU membership via an accelerated procedure. The EU Council summit concluded that such a fast-track application process is impossible, yet they stated that "Ukraine belongs to the European Union"

- Ukrainian citizens in the occupied cities rally against Russians; thousands of civilian volunteers join the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine; the fighting has become a national struggle for survival

- Ukraine has had four rounds of negotiations with Russia; still, no significant progress towards ceasefire and peace, the main question, for now, is establishing humanitarian corridors for the supply of aid and evacuation of civilians; the direct talks of presidents Zelenskyy and Putin are being considered

Read more: ​Day 22nd of Ukraine's Defense Against Russian Invasion (Live Updates)
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