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As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 23rd day, we take a look at the main developments.

These are the key events so far on Friday, March 18. Get the latest updates here.


  • At least three explosions have been heard in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv this morning. Mayor Andriy Sadovyi says Russian missiles have struck an area near the airport.
  • The invasion has largely stalled on all fronts in recent days amid heavy losses, British military intelligence and the Ukrainian armed forces say.
  • Authorities in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol say Russian forces are dropping 50-100 bombs on the city daily, causing “enormous destruction”.
  • Russian shelling has caused a fire at Kharkiv’s Barabashovo market, among the largest in Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Suspilne, says.

Civilian toll

  • More than 350,000 people are sheltering in Mariupol, officials says.
  • Rescuers are combing the rubble of a theatre in the city that was bombed on Wednesday for survivors. Russia denies striking it. Italy says it will rebuild it.
  • The governor of the northern Chernihiv region says 53 civilians had been killed in the past 24 hours. The dead included a United States citizen as he waited in a bread line, according to his family. Russia denies targeting civilians.
  • The United Nations says it has recorded 780 confirmed civilian deaths since the invasion began, and 3.2 million people have fled. The World Health Organization says it has verified 43 attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine that have killed 12 people and injured dozens more, including health workers.


  • A “very, very big gap” remains between Ukraine and Russia, Western officials say after another day of peace talks.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shows little desire to compromise, they added, while Ukraine wants to retain sovereignty over areas occupied since 2014 by Russia and pro-Russian forces.
  • Russia has accused the US of stoking “Russophobia” and says it has the power to put its “brash enemies into place”.
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has asked Turkey to be a guarantor of any future deal with Russia, along with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, Ankara’s top diplomat says.

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  • Japan and Australia have imposed new sanctions on Russian entities as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Washington says US President Joe Biden will warn his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in talks on Friday of the “costs” if Beijing helps Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. The two leaders are scheduled to talk at 13:00 GMT, their first summit since a video call in November.
  • A Russian-European mission to land a rover on Mars has been suspended due to the sanctions over the invasion and its “tragic consequences”, the European Space Agency says.

Economy and markets

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates the war could knock more than one percentage point off global growth this year.
  • Some creditors have received payment of Russian bond coupons which fell due this week, market sources say, meaning Russia may for now have averted a debt default.
  • Germany-based Scope Ratings becomes the first ratings agency in the European Union to withdraw its Russian sovereign credit score after a move by the bloc to ban their provision. S&P, meanwhile, has lowered Russia’s rating.

You can read key moments from Day 22 here

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Source: Al Jazeera

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