Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now
April 18, 2022
(Reuters) – Ukraine said a Russian missile attack killed seven people in Lviv on Monday, the first civilian victims in the western city, and reported signs that Russia had started its anticipated new offensive in the east.
FIGHTING* Lviv governor Maksym Kozytskyy said preliminary reports suggested there had been four hits on Lviv — three strikes on warehouses that are not currently being used by the military, and another on a car service station.* Russia appears to have started its anticipated new offensive in the east of Ukraine, Ukraine’s top security official said.* The United States military expects to start training Ukrainians on using howitzer artillery in coming days, a senior U.S. defense official said. * Ukrainian forces in the besieged city of Mariupol are continuing to engage with the Russian military, Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, told national television on Monday.
* Major Serhiy Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th marine brigade which is still fighting in Mariupol, appealed for help in a letter to Pope Francis, saying women and children were trapped among fighters in the city’s large steel plant.* Russia said it had launched mass strikes overnight on the Ukrainian military and associated military targets.
* Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said that Russians advanced overnight and took the town of Kreminna.
DIPLOMACY* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy formally submitted a completed questionnaire on European Union membership to an envoy on Monday and said he believed this step would lead to his country gaining candidate status within weeks.* The Kremlin accused Ukraine of constantly changing its stance when it comes to issues that have already been agreed at peace talks.* Humanitarian ceasefires between Ukrainian and Russian forces in Ukraine are not on the horizon right now, but may be possible in a couple of weeks, the U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said.
ECONOMY* Russia’s invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30% of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of $100 billion, a Ukrainian minister said on Monday, adding reconstruction could be achieved in two years using frozen Russian assets to help finance it.
* Russia on Monday flagged a likely further cut in interest rates and more budget spending to help the economy adapt to biting western sanctions as it heads for its deepest contraction since 1994.
“This is what hell looks like on earth … It’s time (for) help not just by prayers. Save our lives from satanic hands,”
Ukrainian major Volyna in a letter to the pope, referring to the situation in Mariupol.
(Compiled by Robert Birsel, Alexandra Hudson and Keith Weir)