Ukraine: Lviv hit by 5 missile strikes, mayor says — live updates

Monday, 18 April 2022 (14:16 IST)
The western Ukrainian city has been hit by five "powerful" strikes, according to its mayor. Meanwhile, Ukraine says it has completed an EU membership questionnaire.

Explosions reported in Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk regions

Local authorities have reported multiple explosions in the western Ukrainian region of Lviv and the southern region of Dnipropetrovsk.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said that five "powerful" missiles struck the city and that emergency services were responding to the blasts. He said more details would follow.

Regional governor Maksym Kozystkiy said that six people were killed and eight wounded in the blasts. He added that three missiles hit military infrastructure facilities and one struck a car tire replacement facility.

Lviv has been considered a safe haven as it is relatively less affected by the fighting than other parts of Ukraine.

Russia says it destroyed four Ukrainian arms depots

Russian state-owned news agency TASS cited the country's Defense Ministry as saying that it had destroyed four arms and military equipment depots in Ukraine overnight.

Russian forces used Iskander missiles to hit the depots, the ministry said.

The ministry claimed that it hit 315 Ukrainian targets in total. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities.

Mariupol slowing Russian advance — UK Defense Ministry

Britain's Defense Ministry said in a daily intelligence update that Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol has slowed Russia's advance in the east of the country.

"Russian commanders will be concerned with the time it is taking to subdue Mariupol", the ministry said.

"Concerted Ukrainian resistance has severely tested Russian forces and diverted men and materiel, slowing Russia's advance elsewhere."

The ministry also claimed there that large areas of infrastructure had been destroyed in the city and the population had suffered significant casualties under Russian siege. The ministry compared the destruction to the effects of Russian bombing in Syria and in Chechnya.

Kyiv: Russia to launch new offensive in Donbas

The Russian military has almost finished preparing for a new offensive in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, the Ukrainian military said.

"In the eastern operational area, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are completing the formation of an offensive force," the Ukrainian General Staff said in a Monday report.

The general staff reported Russian airstrikes on the eastern city of Kharkiv and predicted additional attacks in the south of the country as Russian forces attempt to break through to the Kherson region.

Zelenskyy calls on world to respond to torture

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces have carried out acts of torture and kidnappings in the southeast of his country and called on the world to respond.

"Torture chambers are built there," Zelenskyy said in an evening address to the nation. "They abduct representatives of local governments and anyone deemed visible to local communities."

He also said humanitarian aid was stolen, creating famine conditions.

Ukraine's foreign minister says Mariupol siege could end talks

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, said the situation in Mariupol remains heartbreakingly dire and said continued attacks there could present Ukraine with a "red line" ending peace talks.

Kuleba said the remaining Ukrainian military personnel and civilians still trapped in the southeastern port city are effectively encircled by Russian forces.

Ukraine completes EU membership questionnaire

The deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's office, Ihor Zhovkva, said Ukraine completed a questionnaire that forms the basis for the start of EU accession talks.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen handed the questionnaire to Zelenskyy when she visited Kyiv on April 8. She pledged to jumpstart the country's EU membership application following Russia's invasion.

Zhovkva said, "Today, I can say that the document has been completed by the Ukrainian side."

He added that Kyiv hopes to acquire candidate member status during a European Council meeting in June.

Summary of events in Russia's war on Ukraine on Easter Sunday

With thousands of Ukrainian fighters still held up in a steelworks plant in Mariupol, the Russian military "continues to launch missile and bomb strikes on the city," Ukraine's army headquarters said.

"The city still has not fallen," Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told US broadcaster ABC. "There's still our military forces, our soldiers. So they will fight to the end."

Russia previously issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces to surrender or be "eliminated." No reports of surrender came from the city despite the ultimatum expiring the morning of Easter Sunday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke with Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), regarding Ukraine's financial stability and the post-war reconstruction of the country. Ukraine also asked G7 nations for $50 billion (€46 billion) in financial support.

The EU said it is allocating a further €50 million ($54 million) in funding to give humanitarian support to people affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Sunday edition of Germany's Bild newspaper that the EU is working on the next wave of sanctions against Russia which would affect the country's banking and energy sectors.

Russia's Ministry of Defense claimed its air defense system had shot down two Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jets in the region of Kharkiv.

In his Easter message, Pope Francis said Ukraine was "sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged."

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