Russian missiles hit Lviv | Reuters

  • Biden will speak with Xi on Friday
  • Japan and Australia expand Russian sanctions
  • 53 civilians killed in Chernihiv, governor says
  • Negotiators still distant in the talks

KYIV/LVIV, Ukraine, March 18 (Reuters) – Russian missiles hit an area near the airport in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine on Friday, the mayor said, while Japan and Australia imposed new sanctions on Russian entities as punishment for the invasion. from Ukraine.

Western sources and Ukrainian officials said Russia’s onslaught had waned since its troops invaded on Feb. 24, further dashing its expectations of a quick victory and the removal of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government.

Russia has relied heavily on missiles and bombing to subdue Ukrainian forces, but has yet to secure any of its 10 largest cities.

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At least three explosions were heard near Lviv airport on Friday morning, with videos on social media showing large explosions and plumes of rising smoke.

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy said several missiles hit an aircraft maintenance facility, destroying buildings but causing no casualties.

The city has so far escaped major fighting.

In the capital, kyiv, one person was killed and four injured when parts of a Russian missile fell on a residential building in the northern part of the city on Friday morning, emergency service officials said.

Despite battlefield setbacks and punitive sanctions from the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown few signs of letting up.

His government says it counts on China to help Russia weather the blows to its economy.

The United States, which this week announced $800 million in new military aid to kyiv, is concerned that China “is considering directly assisting Russia with military equipment for use in Ukraine,” the secretary said. State Antony Blinken.

President Joe Biden, who has described Putin as a “murderous dictator,” will make it clear to Chinese President Xi Jinping in a call on Friday that China “will take responsibility for any action it takes to support the aggression of Russia,” Blinken told reporters.

The two heads of state are due to speak at 9 a.m. Eastern time (1300 GMT), the White House said. Read more

China has refused to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine or call them an invasion. He says he recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty but that Russia has legitimate security concerns that must be addressed. Read more

A Chinese foreign ministry official met with Russia’s ambassador to China this week to exchange views on counter-terrorism and security cooperation, the ministry said in a statement.

FAR SIDES

Japan and Australia have announced separate measures sanctioning Russian individuals and organizations, including two oligarchs with ties to Australia’s mining industry, as well as Russia’s state-owned arms exporter, its finance ministry and bank central. Read more

The UN human rights office in Geneva said it had recorded 2,032 civilian casualties in Ukraine – 780 killed and 1,252 injured.

Some 3.2 million civilians have fled to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.

Ukraine hopes to evacuate civilians on Friday through nine humanitarian corridors from towns and villages on the front lines of the fighting, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

A fourth straight day of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators took place via video link on Thursday, but the Kremlin said an agreement had yet to be reached.

kyiv and its Western allies say Russia launched the war to subjugate a neighbor Putin calls an artificial state. Russia says it is conducting a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine.

DIGGING FOR SURVIVORS

Rescuers in Mariupol, a southern port city, exhumed survivors from the rubble of a theater that authorities said was hit by an airstrike on Wednesday as civilians took shelter there from shelling. Russia denies hitting the theatre. Read more

Mariupol suffered the worst humanitarian disaster of the war, with hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in basements without food, water or electricity. City officials say they are unable to estimate the number of casualties from the theater, which had the Russian word for “children” marked on the outside and visible in satellite images.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the claim that Russia bombed the theater was a lie.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that separatists in eastern Ukraine, with the help of the Russian armed forces, were “tightening the noose” around Mariupol and that there was fighting in the center- city, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Kyiv’s northeastern and northwestern suburbs suffered heavy damage, but the capital itself held firm, subject to occasional curfews and subject to deadly rocket fire at night.

A building in the Darnytsky district of kyiv was heavily damaged on Thursday. As residents cleaned the glass, a man knelt crying next to the body of a woman covered in a bloody sheet.

Viacheslav Chaus, governor of the region centered on the northern frontline city of Chernihiv, said on Thursday 53 civilians had been killed in 24 hours. The toll could not be independently verified.

One of those killed was US citizen Jimmy Hill, who was shot while waiting in a bread line, his family said. Read more

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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Rami Ayyub and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Richard Pullin and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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