Russia-Ukraine war update: what we know on day 18 of the Russian invasion | Ukraine

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy claims Russian forces have neither the strength nor the spirit to conquer Ukraine. In his latest video address on Saturday night, Zelenskiy said: “The Russian invaders cannot conquer us. They do not have such strength … They are holding only on violence.”

  • Zelenskiy also claimed on Saturday that the Russian army had suffered its biggest losses in decades. He said 31 Russian battalion tactical groups have now been rendered incapable of combat.

  • Seven civilians have died after coming under Russian fire while trying to flee fighting near Kyiv. Ukraine initially accused Russia of firing at a convoy of civilian evacuees from the village of Peremoha while they were in a designated humanitarian corridor, but later said it was not such a route.

  • The town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region of Ukraine has been totally destroyed by Russian bombardment, according to regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. A local hospital was destroyed, forcing people to gather in the basement as pro-Russian separatists took over the town.

  • Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg says Russia may use chemical weapons following its invasion of Ukraine and that such a move would be a war crime. He told a German newspaper that Russia could manipulate false claims of possible western deployment of such weapons as a pretext for its own use of them.

  • France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, spoke to Russian president Vladimir Putin by phone on Saturday and urged him to order an immediate ceasefire. But a French official said: “We did not detect a willingness on Putin’s part to end the war.”

  • The Ukrainian ministry of defence says Russia’s generals are uncertain about their “strategic objectives” and have been hindered by fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces. The latest intelligence update says the Russians were regrouping and trying to assess the strength of Ukraine’s defences.

  • New satellite imagery of Mariupol is showing the widespread damage suffered since Russian forces surrounded the city 12 days ago. More than 1,500 civilians have been killed, and humanitarian aid groups say those remaining have not had access to water or medications in days.

  • The rate of refugees crossing the Ukrainian border has slowed, but neighbouring countries are still struggling to provide shelter for the estimated 2.6 million who have fled since the Russians invaded last month. About 13,000 refugees were evacuated through humanitarian corridors today.

  • At least 79 children have been killed and more than 100 have been injured so far in the war, according to Ukrainian officials.

  • British people who open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion will get £350 a month ($456) under a “cash for accommodation” scheme, as ministers try to make amends for the UK’s chaotic response to the crisis.

  • Ukrainian officials informed the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, that Russia was planning to take “full and permanent” control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant – an allegation that Russia denies.

  • People have taken to the streets of cities all over the world to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including in Berlin, Warsaw, London, New York and Los Angeles.

  • US president Joe Biden has authorised $200m in weapons and other assistance for Ukraine, the White House has said.

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