The operation to rescue the military blocked on the territory of Azovstal continues – it is according President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. During his daily address, President Zelensky said the evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is being overseen by Ukraine’s military and intelligence with the help of the “most influential international mediators.” ‘We need our heroes alive' – it is a slogan proclaimed by the President of Ukraine for the operation and we need to fight to get our heroes alive
Russia’s Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft downed over Kharkiv Oblast.
Adviser to the Head of the President's Office, Mykhailo Podolyak: Process of evacuation from Azovstal difficult, ongoing.
President proposes extending martial law, general mobilization for another 90 days.
Ukrainian Army destroys about 28,300 enemy troops and 1,235 tanks.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that the military and intelligence officers had begun the operation to rescue Ukrainian troops from Mariupol, but the the work needs “delicacy and time”.
Side note: news are marked in accordance with the Kyiv time zone: Eastern European Time (EET), GMT/UTC+2
23:50 The Joint Forces Operation Area press service reports: Ukrainian Troops Repel 16 Enemy Attacks.
According to the JFTF press service, all over the defense line, the enemy is using combat aviation, multiple launch rocket systems, cannon artillery, tanks, mortar systems, launching missile and air strikes on civil infrastructure facilities, peaceful residential areas.
23:05 an officer of the 95th Separate Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yurii Kochevenko: Ukrainian forces shoot down Russia’s Su-34 over Kharkiv Region.
The relevant statement was made by Yurii Kochevenko, an officer of the 95th Separate Air Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.
“Just now near Kupiansk, Kharkiv Region, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed Russia’s Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft,” Kochevenko wrote.
22:50 Operational-tactical Group "East" Repulsed Seven Russian Attacks During the Day, Eliminated Up to 220 Enemy Troops.
“Ukrainian defenders continue to hold back the aggressor within the control area of the East Operational Tactical Group. On May 18, 2022, our military repulsed seven attacks by Russian fascist troops,” the statement said.
22:10 The Air Assault Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: Ukraine’s 25th Airborne Brigade destroys enemy troops together with military equipment.
“The 25th Separate Sicheslavska Airborne Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces is destroying Russian occupiers together with military equipment. The enemy infantry fighting vehicle and ‘lost’ occupiers followed the route of the Russian warship,” the message states, Ukrinform reports.
21:45 The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine: Russians fire on Sumy, Chernihiv regions from its territory seven times per day.
"Today, seven attacks were launched from the territory of Russia: five – on Sumy region, two – on Chernihiv region," the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine posted on Telegram.
Russians use heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, rocket and tube artillery, Ukrinform reports.
21:30 New footage uploaded on the Internet of russia’s BMPT Terminator, which is basically a tank support vehicle. The new video was recorded in Ukraine already.
20:30 Adviser to the Head of the President's Office, Mykhailo Podolyak: Process of evacuation from Azovstal difficult, ongoing.
"The evacuation process is ongoing, it is difficult. You see the statements made by the Russian media and politicians – they are very aggressive. Therefore, let's be careful about it," Podolyak said in an interview with Radio NV, Ukrinform reports.
According to him, there are many influential mediators in this process, including international institutions and representatives of some other countries.
20:00 The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has released new operational update on the situation on the Ukrainian frontlines as of 18:00 on May 18, 2022.
According to the report, Russians continue their offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone. The occupiers shell the entire line of contact and in the rear of the Ukrainian defense, mostly in the Donetsk operational area and Slovyansk direction.
19:25 The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksandr Motuzianyk: Enemy ready to launch 24 cruise missiles from Black Sea.
"Ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov continue to conduct reconnaissance and provide fire support to their units in the coastal direction. There are three carriers of Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles in the Black Sea with up to 24 missiles ready to strike," Motuzianyk said. However, according to him, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready to repel the enemy attacks, Ukrinform reports.
18:45 Turkey blocks the start of negotiations on Finland and Sweden joining NATO,
Turkey stopped the vote at the NATO ambassadors meeting on Wednesday, Ukraine NOW reports with a reference to sources in the Financial Times.
"We are not saying that they cannot be members of NATO. We just need to be on the same wavelength, on the same understanding regarding the threat we are facing,” the Turkish official said.
18:16 Finland and Sweden have handed over the applications for joining NATO
The ambassadors of the respective countries officially passed the applications to NATO chairman Jens Stoltenberg on May 18.
"A historic day. Today, Finland and Sweden hand in letters expressing their countries’ interest to apply for NATO membership to Secretary General Jens Stoltenbern," reads the Twitter post by the Mission of Finland to NATO.
18:01 Russian shelling of Azovstal could result in an ecological disaster
Mariupol City Council warned that there is an indication that a facility containing poisonous substance might have been hit by bombardment. "Dozens of tons" of hydrogen sulfide threaten to flow into the Azov Sea and kill all the flora and fauna with further spread into the Black and Mediterranean seas. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko called out to provide access of the UN experts to the facility for preventing the catastrophe.
17:48 Russian aircraft shot down by air defense
The press center of the 57th Motorized Brigade published footage of russian aircraft trespassing into the airspace controlled by the Ukrainian air defense. That resulted in one of them being shot.
17:03 An armored train blown up in Melitopol
Local media report russian armored train was blown up by the guerillas in the occupied Melitopol city. The sources of RIA-Melitopol say that a remote-controlled explosive planted on the railway was activated beneath a carriage with russian military personnel. The explosion caused panic among the russian occupiers. The numbers of casualties are unknown yet.
According to another local information platform, the locomotive with 10 cars was damaged by this sabotage attack, the armored train stopped along with 10 fuel tanks that followed it. The railway itself was damaged, too.
Update: Zaporizhzhia region administration stated that the resistance forces did not use any explosive material, but "placed a simple coin". The explosion was caused by the detonation of ammunition, carried by the train when it turned over due to the deterioration of the railways. The administration said russians did not involve local railway workers in the maintenance works:
"Due to such negligence in Melitopol, the tracks were in poor condition. Resistance Forces of Zaporizhia Region only needed to put a coin to make the armored train of the russian occupiers crash. As a result, the train carrying ammunition from the temporarily russian-annexed Crimea derailed, and several cars overturned. The ammunition in the cars detonated."
16:48 ICC sends 42-member team to probe alleged war crimes in Ukraine
The International Criminal Court has sent a team of experts to Ukraine to investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine, Al Jazeera reports. Prosecutor General of the ICC Karim A.A. Khan QC said on Tuesday that the "largest-ever" 42-member team comprised of investigators, forensic experts and support staff will interview witnesses, secure and analyze evidence and support Ukrainian investigators in securing evidence.
This research is aimed to help reveal the "crimes falling into the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court", namely the crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.
16:31 One more "ZALA" UAV shot by air defense
Air defense units of the 80th Air Assault Brigade has shot down another russian drone. This time, it is a "ZALA 421-08" reconnaissance and surveillance UAV. The aerial vehicle was shot with a "Strela-10" tracked missile system.