Ukraine war live: Russia continues Ukraine bombardment, with new attack on Lviv

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A woman cries before starting to clean the site where a bombing damaged residential buildings in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 18, 2022.

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Friday is the 23rd day of war in Ukraine, after the invasion launched by Moscow at the end of February.

The fighting has forced more than three million Ukrainians to flee their homes, with thousands of people killed or wounded and widespread damage in the wake of shelling and aerial bombardments.

Follow our live updates below or tune into Euronews in the video player, above.

06:59

Here are the latest key developments to know:

     Russia launched a Friday morning strike on Lviv in western Ukraine, with cruise missiles targeting the airport. The International Energy Agency unveiled a new plan to rapidly cut oil use, due to price and supply issues caused by the conflict.The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected a Russian appeal that would have allowed the national football team to play in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in spring: the team is still banned.The UN says more than 3.2 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion. The Polish border guard confirms more than 2 million have crossed the border into Poland.  US President Joe Biden will speak to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at 2pm CET to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s will not ask for a UN vote on its resolution about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, which was criticised by Western countries for not mentioning Russia’s responsibility for invading Ukraine.

13:53

109 children dead in Russian war: Ukrainian official

At least 109 children have died and more than 130 children have been injured since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s commission for human rights.

The number was according to preliminary investigations and sources, but the actual number of dead and wounded is difficult to determine, she said.

There are about 3,000 babies in the besieged port city of Mariupol, she added.

13:40

Baltic states expel 10 Russian diplomats

Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia will expel ten Russian diplomats, their foreign ministries announced on Friday.

Estonia will expel three Russian diplomats, stating that they “have directly and actively undermined Estonia’s security and spread propaganda justifying Russia’s illegal warfare.”

Four employees of Russia’s embassy in Lithuania will have to leave the country in five days, Lithuania’s foreign ministry said.

“Russia’s military attacks on civilians, civilian objects, hospitals, schools, maternity wards, and cultural objects are war crimes and crimes against humanity. Russian special services are actively involved in organising these crimes against the peaceful population of Ukraine, so we do not want the representatives of these structures to walk on our land and pose a threat to Lithuania’s national security,” said foreign affairs minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

Latvian foreign affairs minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said that three Russian diplomats would be expelled saying their activities were “incompatible with their diplomatic status”.
 

13:25

Bulgaria expels 10 Russian diplomats

The Bulgarian government announced the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats on Friday for “activities activities inconsistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

This formula is often used to report espionage activities. The diplomats must leave Bulgaria within 72 hours. 

Two Russian diplomats had already been expelled in early March for a similar reason.

Bulgaria, a member of the European Union and NATO, traditionally maintains close economic relations with Russia, but since October 2019, several espionage cases have caused tension.

With Friday’s announcement, 20 Russian diplomats and a technical assistant at the embassy have been expelled in total over the last two and a half years. 

13:03

Germany to investigate Russian billionaire over possible sanctions evasion

Germany’s economy ministry is investigating whether a Russian billionaire has dodged sanctions designed to target Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Alexei Mordashov is the largest shareholder in tourism company TUI, but officials think he might have circumvented EU sanctions by transferring his shares to a company controlled by his wife.

“An investment review procedure is underway” a ministry spokeswoman said on Friday. 

Investigators will look into the recent transfer of 29.9% of the shares in TUI, worth €1.3 billion, to a company called Ondero Limited whose main shareholder is Marina Mordashova – Mr Mordashov’s wife.

This sleight of hand could allow the Russian billionaire, who before this transaction held 34% of the capital of TUI, to continue to enjoy it through a company in the hands of his wife, while he himself is targeted by Western sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine

The economy ministry and TUI said the transfer of shares is currently suspended, while the investigation is underway.

Alexei Mordachov’s assets have been frozen since 1 March, and he is banned from entering the EU.

12:45

Russia to be excluded from World Cup qualifiers, Court of Arbitration for Sport says

The Russian team will still be excluded from the qualifying play-offs for the 2022 World Cup at the end of March, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the Russian Federation’s request on Friday to suspend FIFA’s sanctions.

12:25

Russian and Belarusian diplomats and government staff banned from European parliament premises

Diplomats and government staff from Russia and Belarus are now banned from the premises of the European Parliament, said its president, Roberta Metsola.

“There is no place in the House of Democracy for those who seek to destroy the democratic order,” the EU parliament president said.

She had previously said she would seek a ban on any representative of the Kremlin from entering European Parliament premises.

12:13

Germany mulls imposing Russian oil embargo

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has indicated that her country should consider imposing an oil embargo on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

In a security policy speech on Friday, she said it was important to take a stance and not remain silent due to economic or energy dependency.

“Even if it’s difficult, including on questions now with regard to oil or other embargoes,” said Baerbock.

Germany receives about a third of its oil from Russia and half of its coal and natural gas.

(AP)

11:54

What is life like for Westerners in Russia amid the war in Ukraine?

A month ago, Mark*, a British teacher in Moscow, was making holiday plans with his expatriate friends.

Then, days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine and everything changed.

Mark says most of his expatriate friends — including those with whom he was making travel plans — have now left.

“I’ve spoken with people who’ve been here for years and have families and have been through a lot, but the Ukrainian invasion is too much,” said Mark, who moved to Russia at the end of 2019. “Even if there is a sense of being protected in Moscow, the risk they feel they’re taking is in relation to war,” he said. “You don’t mess around with that.”

Read the full story here.

11:28

Two dead and six wounded after missile strike in Kramatorsk, regional official says

At least two people have died and six people have been wounded after a missile strike in Kramatorsk hit a residential building and an administrative building, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration.

The city is located in the east, north of Donetsk.

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