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Russian progress 'significantly blunted' amid failure to control Ukraine airspace; China says it's on the right side of history

This has been CNBC's live blog covering updates on the war in Ukraine. [Follow the latest updates here.]

It's been more than three weeks since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin's operational progress has been "significantly blunted" due to its failure to control Ukrainian airspace, the UK Defense Ministry said.

After the meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and China, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters that Beijing will "never accept any external coercion or pressure," and that it opposes "any groundless accusations or suspicions targeted against China."

Overnight, Russian artillery attacks continued to bombard residential areas in Kyiv, killing hundreds. Kyiv's military administration said 229 people, including four children, have been killed since the start of the war. Russia has killed 847 Ukrainian civilians, including 64 children, since Russia attacked Ukraine, the United Nations said.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are deporting thousands of Ukrainian citizens against their will to Russia, Mariupol's City Council claimed in a Telegram post. The information has not yet been verified by U.S. officials or CNBC.

Time will prove China is on the right side of history, China's foreign minister says

China is on the right side of history with regard to the Ukraine crisis — and time will prove it, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, according to Chinese state media.

"We have always stood for maintaining peace and opposing war," Wang said, according to CGTN News.

His comments came after the Friday meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S President Joe Biden, during which Biden warned of "consequences" if China were to provide material support to the Kremlin in its war against Ukraine.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a press conference on China's foreign policy and foreign relations on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress NPC in Beijing, China on March 7, 2022.
Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Speaking to reporters a day after the U.S.-China meeting, Wang said Beijing will make its own assessment of the situation in an objective and fair manner.

"We will never accept any external coercion or pressure, and we will also oppose any groundless accusations or suspicions targeted against China," he added.

Beijing has so far refrained from condemning Russia, and has refused to call the violence in Ukraine an "invasion."

Joanna Tan

About 30% of Ukraine's economy has been shut down, finance ministry says

A child carrying a doll poses for a photo as she waits for her mother in a supermarket in Kyiv. Amid the economic shock brought by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, petrol prices have hit another record. The Foreign Ministry has said preliminary data shows about 30% of the economy is now "either not working or temporarily not working."
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Nearly one-third of Ukraine's economy has been shut down as a result of the Russian invasion, said Ukraine's Finance Ministry, according to NBC News.

Preliminary calculations show that "about 30% of the economy is now either not working or temporarily not working," said the head of the finance ministry, Serhiy Marchenko.

He said Ukraine will now have to borrow to meet its financial needs.

"Now the situation is such that our tax revenues do not cover our needs, the main channel is borrowing, internal and external," he said "We finance the needs for the army and other important thing from the budget." 

Joanna Tan

Moscow has failed to gain control of Ukrainian airspace, says UK Defense Ministry

People hold signs asking for the protection of Ukrainian air space in front of the German embassy on March 4, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. The UK Defense Ministry said in its March 20, 2022 update that Russian forces have failed to gain control of Ukrainian airspace, which has "significantly blunted their operational progress."
Pedro Gomes | Getty Images

Russia has failed to gain control of the air in its war against Ukraine — and failure to do so has "significantly blunted their operational progress," the UK's Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence report.

"The Ukrainian Air Force and Air Defence Forces are continuing to effectively defend Ukrainian air space," the ministry said.

As a result, the Kremlin is now relying heavily on stand-off weapons launched from Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine, according to the update.

Joanna Tan

Ukrainians queue for ID cards in Warsaw, Poland

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees have been standing in line to obtain ID cards in the Polish capital of Warsaw, the Associated Press reported.

Ukrainians who obtain the PESEL identity cards will be allowed to get a job, go to school, and gain access to health care and social benefits at least for the next 18 months.

Polish authorities told the AP that over 123,000 refugees have been given the ID numbers since the program's launch on Wednesday.

Refugees from Ukraine who fled to Poland after Russian attack are filling in documents in front of a register point at Tauron Arena where they can obtain a PESEL national identification number and remain in the country. Krakow, Poland on March 16, 2022.
Nurphoto | Getty Images

In three weeks, Poland has received more than two million refugees forced to flee from Ukraine, the UN Refugee Agency said.

"This has been a tremendous effort from the people, local communities, municipalities and government of Poland in receiving and hosting new arrivals," said Christine Goyer, UNHCR's Representative in Poland.

Joanna Tan

Athletes show support for Ukraine while competing at the World Athletics Indoor Championships

Athletes wear Ukrainian colors in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion in Ukraine while competing at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

Canada's Gabriela Debues-Stafford in action during the Women's 3000m final wearing the Ukrainian colors in her hair in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion in Ukraine.
Bernadett Szabo | Reuters
Britain's Megan Marrs wears a Ukraine hair band in support amid Russia's invasion during the women's 60 meters hurdles heat 1 .
Aleksandra Szmigiel | Reuters
Athletics - World Athletics Indoor Championships - Stark Arena, Belgrade, Serbia - March 19, 2022 Ukraine's Yana Hladiychuk during the women's pole vault final with a message on her face reading "Stop War" in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.
Aleksandra Szmigiel | Reuters
Poland´s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic before the women's 400m heat 1 wearing the Ukrainian colors in the ribbon of her hair in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion in Ukraine 
Aleksandra Szmigiel | Reuters

-Reuters

Convoy of donated emergency vehicles prepare to travel to Polish-Ukraine border

A convoy of donated emergency service equipment, organized by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), leaves Kent, U.K. for the Polish border with Ukraine. 

About 3.2 million people have fled Ukraine, according to Reuters, many to countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary, Solvakia and Moldova, creating a refugee crisis across Europe.

Fire officers at Ashford fire station prepare vehicles and donated emergency service equipment, organised by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council, prior to a convoy of vehicles setting off from Ashford, Kent, for the Polish border of Ukraine. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2022.
Gareth Fuller | Getty Images
Fire officers at Ashford fire station prepare vehicles and donated emergency service equipment, organised by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council, prior to a convoy of vehicles and the equipment setting off from Ashford, Kent, for the Polish border with Ukraine. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2022.
Gareth Fuller | Getty Images
Fire officers at Ashford fire station are briefed prior to setting off from Ashford in Kent, in convoy with donated emergency vehicles and service equipment, organised by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council, destined for the Polish border with Ukraine. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2022.
Gareth Fuller | Getty Images
A convoy of donated emergency service equipment, organised by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council, sets off from Ashford in Kent, heading for the Polish border with Ukraine. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2022.
Gareth Fuller | Getty Images
A convoy of donated emergency service equipment, organised by Fire AID and the National Fire Chiefs Council, travels towards Dover on the A20 in Kent, heading for the Polish border with Ukraine. Picture date: Saturday March 19, 2022.
Gareth Fuller | Getty Images

Adam Jeffery

U.S. lawmakers visit Poland refugee reception centers, urge support

A mother with her child arrives at a sports hall of a primary school, transformed into temporary accommodation for people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Przemysl, Poland, March 19, 2022.
Fabrizio Bensch | Reuters

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers led by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., visited reception centers for refugees from Ukraine in eastern Poland.

"The most urgent action that we can take is to make sure that the Ukrainian fighters — those valiant patriots who are fighting for their freedom — have every bit of equipment, every bit of supply, every bit of support that we can possibly deliver to them," Lynch said.

Other members of the delegation included Reps. Lori Trahan, D-Mass, Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, Jake LaTurner, R-KS, Pat Fallon, R-TX, and Nancy Mace, R-SC.

— Associated Press

Satellite images show before and after views of the Mariupol Drama Theater bombed by Russia

Before and after satellite views of shows the Mariupol Drama Theater aftermath of an airstrike, in Mariupol, Ukraine. This building had been used as a shelter for hundreds of Ukrainian civilians. Notably, the word children is written in large white letters (in Russian) in front of and behind the theater.

Ukraine's human rights ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova said Friday that 1,300 people were still stuck in the basement and 130 people had been rescued. Russia denied responsibility for the bombing.

Before: March 14

Image appearing to show theater in Mariupol on March 14, prior to its bombing on March 16. The image appears to show the word "children" spelled out in Russian in front of and behind the theater.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

After: March 19

A satellite image shows a view of Mariupol Drama Theatre aftermath of an airstrike, in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 19, 2022.
Maxar Technologies | via Reuters

— Maxar Technologies

Ukraine says 489 educational institutions damaged, 69 destroyed

The Ukrainian national flag is seen in front of a school which, according to local residents, was on fire after shelling, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022.
Vitaliy Gnidyi | Reuters

Shelling and bombing damaged 489 educational institutions in Ukraine, with 69 of those being completely destroyed, according to Ukraine's Committee on Education, Science, and Innovation.

"We will definitely rebuild everything after our victory, but we will never forget or forgive! Fascist Russia will be fully responsible for this genocide of education!" Serhiy Babak, head of the Verkhovna Rada committee, said in a Telegram post translated by NBC News.

Babak said 25 educational institutions were damaged, and five of those were destroyed, in the last 24 hours.

—Jessica Bursztynsky

Russian artillery attacks continue to pound residential areas in Kyiv

EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos contain graphic content

Russian artillery attacks continue to target residential areas in Kyiv.

The city has experienced shelling since the start of Russia's invasion into Ukraine but attacks have increased in recent days. Kyiv's military administration said 229 people, including four children, have been killed since the start of the invasion.

A Ukrainian woman cries outside a destroyed residential building by artillery in a residential area in Kyiv amid Russian Invasion, in Kyiv, Ukraine, 18 March 2022.
Ceng Shou Yi | Nurphoto | Getty Images
A man walks on a shell-damaged street in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko inspects the damaged civil settlement after Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
People carry a dead body after a residential buildings hit by a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A resident seen collecting his belongings in a destroyed building.
Mykhaylo Palinchak | Lightrocket | Getty Images
Residents survey the wreckage after Russia fired missiles at Vynohradar housing estate in Kiev's Podilskyi district, on March 18, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Dia Images | Getty Images
The debris of an exploded device remains on the street in Dorohozhychi, Shevchenko district in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 18th, 2022.
Narciso Contreras | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
People are seen on the shell-damaged street in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

-Adam Jeffery

Mariupol claims Russian forces are deporting thousands to Russia

A view shows a residential building which was damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 18, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Russian forces are deporting thousands of Ukrainian citizens against their will to Russia, Mariupol's City Council claimed in a Telegram post. The information has not yet been verified by U.S. officials or CNBC.

"What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people. It is hard to imagine that in the 21st century people will be forcibly deported to another country," Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said in the post translated by NBC.

Officials said the occupiers removed people from the Left Bank district and shelters "in the building of a sports club," where mostly women and children were taking cover. The Mariupol residents were taken to "filtration camps," where their cell phones and documents were checked, it added. After the inspection, some were taken to Russia, the post said.

—Jessica Bursztynsky

Chinese official calls sanctions on Russia increasingly 'outrageous'

A senior Chinese government official said sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia over Ukraine are increasingly "outrageous".

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also acknowledged Moscow's point of view on NATO, saying the alliance should not further expand eastwards, forcing a nuclear power like Russia "into a corner".

"The sanctions against Russia are getting more and more outrageous," Le said at security forum in Beijing, adding that Russian citizens were being deprived of overseas assets "for no reason".

"History has proven time and again that sanctions cannot solve problems. Sanctions will only harm ordinary people, impact the economic and financial system... and worsen the global economy."

— Reuters

Ukraine will receive additional Stinger and Javelin missiles within days, official says

Ukraine was already stocking up on U.S.-made Javelins before Russia invaded. Here a group of Ukrainian servicemen take a shipment of Javelins in early February, as Russia positioned troops on Ukraine's border.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

In the next few days, Ukraine will receive U.S. weapons including Javelin and Stinger missiles, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Facing pressure from Congress to do more to help Ukraine, the White House recently released an exhaustive list of defensive weapons that President Joe Biden has committed to sending to Ukraine, with a price tag totaling $800 million. The list included 800 Stinger systems, used to shoot down aircraft, and 2,600 Javelin systems, primarily used to shoot tanks and armor.

Russia stepped up threats against incoming weapons shipments this week, with a foreign minister saying that cargo in Ukraine with weapons is "fair game."

— Kif Leswing

At least 228 people, including four children, have been killed in Kyiv, city's military admin says

Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko holds people away from a five-storey residential building that partially collapsed after a shelling in Kyiv on March 18, 2022, as Russian troops try to encircle the Ukrainian capital as part of their slow-moving offensive.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

At least 228 people, including four children, have been killed in Kyiv since Russian forces began a full-scale invasion, according to a Telegram post from Kyiv's military administration.

At least 912 people, including 16, children have been injured in the Ukrainian capital, according to the post.

Russian forces have sought out Kyiv as a key target. The city has experienced shelling since the start of the invasion, but attacks have mounted in recent days, including airstrikes on residential buildings.

—Jessica Bursztynsky

UK Prime Minister says invasion is a turning point for world

Conservative MP Boris Johnson speaks as he visits Bristol on May 14, 2016 in Bristol, England.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "turning point for the world," arguing that victory for President Vladimir Putin's forces would herald "a new age of intimidation."

Speaking to a Conservative Party conference, Johnson claimed Putin was "terrified" that the example of a free Ukraine would spark a pro-democracy revolution in Russia.

He said "a victorious Putin will not stop in Ukraine, and the end of freedom in Ukraine will mean the extinction of any hope of freedom in Georgia and then Moldova, it will mean the beginning of a new age of intimidation across eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea."

— Associated Press

At least 847 Ukrainians killed, including 64 children, since Feb. 24, UN says

Ukrainian policemen carry a body away from a five-storey residential building that partially collapsed after a shelling in Kyiv on March 18, 2022, as Russian troops try to encircle the Ukrainian capital as part of their slow-moving offensive.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Russia has killed 847 Ukrainian civilians, including 64 children, since Russia began its armed attack against Ukraine on Feb. 24, the United Nations said.

At least an additional 1,399 people, including 78 children, have been injured from Feb. 24 through March 18.

The majority of casualties recorded have been caused by the use of explosive weapons with a "wide impact area," the agency said. That includes shelling from heavy artillery and air strikes.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said it believes the actual number of casualties are "considerably higher," since information from areas with intense fighting is delayed and some reports are being corroborated.

—Jessica Bursztynsky

Ukraine says it has killed fifth Russian general since start of war

Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia gather in the separatist-controlled settlement of Mykolaivka (Nikolaevka), as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 1, 2022.
Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

Ukrainian officials said Russian Lieutenant-General Andrei Mordvichev was killed in battle. Russian officials have not confirmed his death.

Mordvichev is the fifth Russian general killed in Ukraine since the start of war on Feb. 20, which is an unprecedented rate of leadership losses in modern warfare.

About 20 Russian generals are in Ukraine as part of the war, the New York Times reported last week, citing Western officials.

— Kif Leswing

700 people evacuate from Luhansk Oblast via humanitarian corridor

About 700 residents were evacuated from Luhansk Oblast in Eastern Ukraine through a humanitarian corridor, the Stet Emergency Service of Ukraine said in a Telegram post.

The regional governor previously announced a temporary ceasefire, or "regime of silence," to allow for evacuations on Saturday.

SES Ukraine also said that the Russians had violated the agreement and prevented some evacuations by continuing to fire shells in Popasna, a city in the region.

— Kif Leswing

Ukraine claims 14,400 Russian forces killed

Editor's note: Graphic content. This post contains a photo of casualties in Ukraine.

Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed Saturday about 14,400 Russian armed forces have been killed since the start of the invasion.

Intelligence has varied widely on the number of Russian deaths. American intelligence estimates more than 7,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, The New York Times said Wednesday. Russia, meanwhile, has claimed fewer than 500 deaths, the paper reported.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB The body of a person lies on the ground next to a military base building that, according to the Ukrainian ground forces, was destroyed by an air strike, in the town of Okhtyrka in the Sumy region, Ukraine February 28, 2022.
Irina Rybakova | Reuters

The mounting deaths come as nearly all of the troops Russia amassed on the border are now fighting inside the country. President Joe Biden previously said Moscow had 190,000 troops prepared. Still, Russia has struggled with logistics, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier in the day, with forces not advancing as quickly as they thought they would.

The Ukrainian government also detailed a list of weapons Russians have lost. It says Russian losses include 466 tanks, 213 artillery pieces, 3 vessels and 44 anti-aircraft warfare systems.

—Jessica Bursztynsky

Zelenskyy calls on Swiss government to freeze oligarchs' bank accounts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine March 12, 2022.
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the Swiss government to freeze the bank accounts of all Russian oligarchs.

Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported that Zelenskyy, who spoke via livestream to thousands of antiwar protesters in the Swiss city of Bern, said "in your banks are the funds of the people who unleashed this war. Help to fight this. So that their funds are frozen. (...) It would be good to take away those privileges from them."

SRF also reported that the Ukrainian president criticized the Swiss multinational food conglomerate Nestle, which has decided not to withdraw from Russia for the time being, as opposed to many other international companies.

— Associated Press

U.S. DOD Secretary says Russian military has struggled

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin responds to questions during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on "Ending the U.S. Military Mission in Afghanistan" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, September 29, 2021.
Rod Lamkey | Pool | Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia hasn't progressed as quickly as they would have liked to.

"They've struggled with logistics," Austin said in an interview with CNN. "We've seen a number of missteps along the way."

Austin said the Pentagon hasn't seen any evidence that the Kremlin is making good use of intelligence reports or integrating air combat with its ground assaults.

"So there are a number of things that we would expect to have seen that we just haven't seen ... Many of their assumptions have not proven to be true as they entered this fight," he said.

He added that Russia has not yet been able to achieve their goal of seizing Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.

— Annie Nova

Ukraine says the country has 562 Russian prisoners of war

Russian prisoners of war, officers of the police sergeant Yevgeniy Plotnikov, lieutenant colonel Dmitriy Astakhov, and captain Yevgeniy Spiridonov are presented to the press in Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on March 2, 2022.
Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

There are 562 Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine as of Saturday, according to Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk and the General Staff of Ukraine's Army.

President Joe Biden had previously said Moscow had 190,000 troops prepared for war. Earlier in the day, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia's troops have struggled with logistics.

— Annie Nova

Russian cosmonauts wear yellow and blue flight suits

Russian cosmonauts arrive wearing yellow and blue flight suits at the International Space Station after docking their Soyuz capsule March 18, 2022 i a still image from video. Video taken March 18, 2022.
Nasa Tv | via Reuters

Russian cosmonauts arrive wearing yellow and blue flight suits, colors that match Ukraine's flag, at the International Space Station after docking their Soyuz capsule on Friday.

The men were the first new arrivals on the space station since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine last month.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov arrive wearing yellow and blue flight suits at the International Space Station after docking their Soyuz capsule March 18, 2022 i a still image from video. Video taken March 18, 2022.
Nasa Tv | via Reuters

It was unclear what, if any, message the yellow uniforms they changed into were intended to send.

Oleg Artemyev was asked about the yellow flight suits when the newly arrived cosmonauts were able to talk to family back on Earth. He said every crew chooses its own flight suits, so that they are not all the same.

"It became our turn to pick a color. But in fact, we had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it. So that's why we had to wear yellow," he said.

— Associated Press

Bulgaria's prime minister says Putin's war puts 'all of Europe at risk'

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin shakes hands with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, in Sofia, Bulgaria, March 19, 2022.
Stoyan Nenov | Reuters

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said at a press conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Putin has put all of Europe at risk with its invasion of Ukraine.

"Unfortunately, there is now not a single country that can live with the illusion that they're safe and secure," Petkov said.

A senior U.S. defense official on Friday said the Russians have launched more than 1,080 missiles since the start of the war and that they retain about 90% of the combat power they had arrayed around Ukraine at the beginning of the invasion

— Annie Nova

1.5 million children have fled Ukraine

A group of children evacuated from an orphanage in Zaporizhzhia wait to board a bus for their transfer to Poland after fleeing the ongoing Russian invasion at the main train station in Lviv, Ukraine, March 5, 2022.
Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

More than 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24, according to UNICEF.

The agency warned that many of Ukraine's displaced women and children could be at increased risk of human trafficking and exploitation.

"The war in Ukraine is leading to massive displacement and refugee flows – conditions that could lead to a significant spike in human trafficking and an acute child protection crisis," said Afshan Khan, UNICEF's regional director for Europe and Central Asia.

— Annie Nova

Russian airstrike kills at least 40 Ukrainian Soldiers in Mykolaiv

Ukrainian media reported that Russian forces carried out a large-scale air strike on Mykolaiv, killing at least 40 Ukrainian soldiers at their brigade headquarters.

Ukrainian authorities said they have not seen any significant shifts over the past 24 hours in front line areas, noting cities of Mariupol, Mykolaiv and Kherson in the south, and Izyum in the east continued to see the heaviest fighting.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content. The following photos contain images of casualties at Mykolaiv.

Ukrainian soldiers search for bodies in the debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Ukrainian soldiers carry a dead soldier through debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Ukrainian soldiers cover bodies of dead soldiers laying next to the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images
A picture taken on March 19, 2022 shows the body of a Ukrainian soldier covered with a sheet next to the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images
Rescuers carry a Ukrainian soldier saved after 30 hours from debris of the military school hit by Russian rockets, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images
A man helps Ukrainian soldiers searching for bodies in the debris at the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers sit next to the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022.
Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

— Getty Images

Russia launches hypersonic missiles to strike a Ukraine arms depot

A MiG-31K fighter jet with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile flies over Moscow's Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in 2018.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russia said it has used hypersonic Kinzhal, or Dagger, missiles to destroy a weapons depot in Ukraine's western Ivano-Frankivsk region, Reuters reports.

It was the first time Russia had deployed its hypersonic Kinzhal system since the start of the war, Russia's Interfax news agency said.

Defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that the underground depot hit by the Kinzhal system on Friday housed Ukrainian missiles and aircraft ammunition. Reuters said it was not able to independently verify Konashenkov's comments.

— Terri Cullen

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 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 p.m. London time 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

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 U.N. 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 U.N. said, including shelling and missile and air strikes.

— Sam Meredith

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

An American multi-mission and tiltrotor aircraft MV-22 Osprey, is pictured during a Franco-American military exercise called "Garrigues Fury 2014" with soldiers of the US Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force for Crisis Response,, and soldiers of the French 21st Marine Infantry Regimenton February 13, 2014 at the military camp of Garrigues, near Nimes, southern France.
Pascal Guyot | AFP | Getty Images

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

A Ukrainian woman cries outside a destroyed residential building by artillery in a residential area in Kyiv amid Russian Invasion, in Kyiv, Ukraine, 18 March 2022.
Ceng Shou Yi | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The U.K. 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 U.K. 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 U.S. 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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