Russia-Ukraine war updates for March 19, 2022

No major changes in fighting over last 24 hours, Ukrainian authorities say

A man walks on a shell-damaged street in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian authorities have not observed any comprehensive shifts in front-line areas over the past 24 hours, according to an advisor to Ukraine’s presidential office.

Reuters reports that Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address Saturday that fighting was ongoing. They cited the cities of Mariupol, Mykolaiv and Kherson as among the hotspots where Russian troops were on the offensive.

—Sam Meredith

Ukraine military orders 38-hour curfew in southern city of Zaporizhzhya

Ukraine’s military has ordered a 38-hour curfew in the southern city of Zaporizhzhya, starting at 2 pm London time on Saturday and ending early on Monday.

“Do not go outside at this time!” Deputy mayor Anatoliy Kurtiev said, according to Reuters.

—Sam Meredith

Ukraine hopes to open 10 humanitarian corridors on Saturday

Injured civilians from Mariupol, receive treatment in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 18, 2022 as evacuations from Mariupol continue amid Russian attacks.

Stringer | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said the country hopes to evacuate citizens via 10 humanitarian corridors from cities and towns on the front line of Russia’s invasion.

A corridor had been agreed for the besieged city of Mariupol, Vereshchuk said, according to Reuters. Previous attempts to secure safe passage for civilians under a temporary ceasefire have mostly failed, with Russia and Ukraine blaming one another.

It has been reported roughly 350,000 people are sheltering in the southeastern city of Mariupol, with no access to food or water.

—Sam Meredith

UN reports 2,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion

Handout image shows an apartment building after a rocket strike, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine March 18, 2022.

National Police of Ukraine | via Reuters

The United Nations has reported 2,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion over three weeks ago, with 816 killed and 1,333 injured.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights believes the actual figures are likely considerably higher, particularly given intense hostilities in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions in recent days.

Most of the civilian casualties recorded so far were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, the UN said, including shelling and missile and air strikes.

—Sam Meredith

Four American soldiers die in plane crash during NATO training exercise, Norway PM says

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said four American soldiers have died in a plane crash while participating in a NATO military exercise called Cold Response.

“It is with great sadness we have [received] the message that four American soldiers died in a plane crash last night,” Store said via Twitter on Saturday morning.

“The soldiers participated in the NATO exercise Cold Response. Our deepest sympathies go to the soldiers’ families, relatives and fellow soldiers in their unit.”

Local police were said to be investigating the cause of the crash, Reuters reported, although bad weather had stalled their work.

—Sam Meredith

Russia could resort to ‘indiscriminate use of firepower,’ UK’s Defense Ministry warns

The UK Defense Ministry has warned Russia will likely resort to the “indiscriminate use of firepower” after failing to achieve its original objectives so far.

“Russia has been forced to change its operational approach and is now pursuing a strategy of attrition,” the UK Defense Ministry said in a Twitter post.

As a result of the change in tactics, Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis could worsen as civilian casualties climb and more infrastructure is destroyed, it warned.

The Defense Ministry reiterated that Moscow “has been surprised by the scale and ferocity of Ukrainian Resistance.”

Joanna Tan

Zelenskyy calls for talks with Russia, says it’s time to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes a speech on evaluation the 22nd day of the Russia-Ukraine war during virtually addressing in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 17, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Russia to come to the table for talks.

“Meaningful peace and security talks for Ukraine are the only chance for Russia to reduce the damage from its own mistakes,” he said a video address on Saturday.

“It’s time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. “Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be such that you will not have several generations to rise.”

Joanna Tan

Biden warns Xi of global backlash

Joe Biden speaks with Xi Jinping, March 18, 2022.

The White House

Biden held a nearly two-hour phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both Biden and Xi agreed on the need to promote peace and assist with the humanitarian disaster created by the invasion. But they disagreed deeply on who is responsible for the suffering in Ukraine, with the Chinese leader refusing to hold Russia singularly accountable for the unprovoked invasion.

Instead, official readouts from Beijing made it clear that Xi’s position was that the US and Europe had provoked Russian President Vladimir Putin into attacking Ukraine by expanding NATO into Eastern Europe.

During the call, Biden “described the implications and consequences if China provides material support to Russia,” the White House said.

—Christina Wilkie

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