War against Ukraine: fighting in Lugansk, concerns for civilians in Mariupol

Status: 04/18/2022 5:40 p.m.

Russia apparently concentrates its attacks mainly on the Lugansk region. In Mariupol, authorities again demanded an escape route for civilians. Elsewhere in Ukraine, Moscow has stepped up airstrikes.

According to Ukrainian sources, the Russian army launched a major attack in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk. In the small town of Kreminna, the Russian army “entered with a huge amount of war material” during the night, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Hajdaj, said on Facebook. “Our defenders have retreated to new positions,” he added. The small town of Kreminna with 18,000 inhabitants is located about 50 kilometers northeast of the city of Kramatorsk and close to the currently hotly contested town of Rubishne.

conflicting parties as a source

In the current situation, the information on the course of the war, the shelling and the victims provided by the official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian parties to the conflict cannot be verified directly by an independent body.

Violent explosions in Rubishne

Journalists from the AFP news agency reported violent explosions in Rubishne, some detonations had caused fires. Huge clouds of smoke rose above the city. Ukrainian soldiers fired artillery and mortar shells at Russian positions in Rubishne from Novodrushesk, about three kilometers away. The leader of the pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk, Lenoid Pasechnik, said last week that the Ukrainian army still controls “a part” of Rubishne.

As soon as its fighters “liberated” the whole area, a decision would be made “to provide aid to our brothers in Donetsk and possibly to Russia”, Pasechnik said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday evening accused Russia of wanting to “literally finish off and destroy” the entire Donbass region.

Concern continues for civilians in Mariupol

For Mariupol, which was surrounded by the Russian military, Ukraine asked Russia to allow the safe evacuation of civilians from the port city. This applies above all to the Azovstahl steelworks. “Separately, we urgently demand a humanitarian corridor from the territory of the Azovsteel Combine for women, children and other civilians,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk wrote in Russian on her Telegram channel. She threatened officials with a refusal with a conviction for war crimes.

Seven civilians reportedly dead as a result of Russian rocket attacks

Tagesschau 6:20 p.m., April 18, 2022

“They don’t believe the Russians”

The day before, the Russian armed forces said they had ceased fire around the steelworks for several hours and offered the remaining defenders to surrender. According to Mariupol police chief Mykhailo Vershynin, “a large number of civilians” remain in the factory bunkers. “They don’t believe the Russians,” Vershynin said.

“It is becoming more and more dangerous for people to leave the city,” Oliver Mayer, ARD New Delhi, currently Dnipro/Ukraine

tagesschau24 5:00 PM, April 18, 2022

The southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol was completely surrounded by Russian troops on March 1 after the start of the Russian war of aggression. Ukrainian units would only control parts of the city around the Azovstahl steelworks site. Kyiv was unable to organize buses to bring civilians from Mariupol to safe areas. Around 100,000 people are believed to be holding in the badly damaged city. In a letter, the commander of the remaining marines, Serhiy Volyna, wrote to Pope Francis asking him to help evacuate the remaining civilians.

Meanwhile, Russia stepped up its airstrikes and, according to its own statements, attacked more than 100 targets on the night alone. Authorities say at least six people were killed in rocket attacks in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Deaths have also been reported in other parts of the country. According to the mayor, a child is among the injured in Lviv. There are different statements about the number of rockets, it is reported four or five hits. Military property would have been affected, but also civilian property such as a tire service and a hotel. Lviv has been the target of air raids in the past. There are several military installations near the city and it is considered an important transshipment point for arms shipments from the West.

Attacks also in kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk

Apparently, there were also airstrikes in other parts of the country. A journalist from the Reuters news agency reported several explosions in the Ukrainian capital. So far, there is no information on casualties or damage. According to media reports, two people were injured in attacks in the Dnipropetrovsk region in the south of the country.

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