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Ukraine's attention is now focused on the evacuation of the defenders of Mariupol, which began on May 16-17: several hundred Ukrainian servicemen were taken from Azovstal to Russian-occupied territories in Donetsk Oblast, hoping to be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war later.
In the evening of May 17, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the evacuation of the Ukrainian troops from the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol was underway, led by the Ukrainian military and intelligence agencies.
"The most influential international mediators have been involved (in the evacuation)," the president added.
Military situation in Ukraine, May 18
7.55 p.m. Invading Russian forces are continuing their attempts to attack the Donbas, but without success, says Ukraine’s General Staff. Here is the General Staff’s update of the situation in Ukraine as of 6 p.m. on May 18, on the 84th day since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion:
the Russian invaders are continuing their offensive in the east, shelling along the entire front line and deep into the defenses of Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk operational area and in the area of Slavyansk, trying to strengthen their offensive;
the second stage of a combat readiness test is underway in the Belarusian army, lasting until May 21. The military is working on crossing water obstacles and testing air defense forces and equipment. The threat of missile strikes from Belarus remains;
in the northern area, the enemy fired artillery and mortars at Yanzhulivka, Chernihiv Oblast, and Progress, Sumy Oblast;
the Russians are equipping additional firing positions and defensive structures in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk oblasts. According to the General Staff, enemy units there are replenishing their supplies;
in the Slobozhansky area in the border areas of Belgorod and Voronezh oblasts, the Russian military is keeping the air force units ready;
in the Kharkiv area, the enemy is trying to hold the occupied area and shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops, and conducting counterattacks to try to restore the lost positions;
as a result of an offensive, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated the settlement of Dementiivka in Kharkiv Oblast, while fighting continues in Ternova district, where the invaders are conducting an offensive;
in the Slavyansk area, the enemy fought unsuccessfully in the area of Dovgenky with the support of artillery, and suffered casualties;
in the Lyman area, the enemy is trying to gain a foothold, using artillery to strike at civilian targets in the areas of Toshkivka, Zoloty, Avdiivka, Volodymyrivka and Vodyany;
in the Severodonetsk area, the enemy assaulted Nizhny district without success. In the Bakhmut area, the invaders are conducting an offensive, trying to improve their tactical situation. The enmy also stormed the area of Katerynivka without success;
in the Avdiyivka area, the invaders attacked near Novoselivka, suffered losses, and retreated. The enemy also assaulted Novobahmutivka and Vesely, but without success;
in the Novopavlovsk and Zaporizhzhya areas, the Russians fired on residential buildings and infrastructure in the Novoandriyivka, Kamyansky, Orikhiv, Olhovsky, and Poltavka areas;
Lupareve, Posad-Pokrovske, Vysunsk, Osokorivka and Novovorontsovka came under enemy fire in the South Bug river area;
· According to the General Staff, in the temporarily occupied areas of Luhansk Oblast on May 16-17, there were spontaneous protests by relatives of those forcibly mobilized into the ranks of the Russian invading forces.
6.45 p.m. The Ukrainian army has liberated the village of Dementiivka in Kharkiv Oblast from Russian occupation, the General Staff said. The village is directly north of the city of Kharkiv, about 8 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Russian border. However, the enemy is advancing in the area of the settlement of Ternova, about 38 kilometers to the north-east of Kharkiv, and fighting there continues.
6.21 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has proposed that Ukraine’s parliament extend martial law and mobilization for another three months The decree submitted by the president proposes to extend martial law and mobilization for 90 days from May 25, 2022.
5.36 p.m. Adviser to the Head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podoliak has told Radio NV that the evacuation of defenders from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol is continuing, but that the process is difficult, and therefore called for people to be “careful” when discussing this topic.
4.46 p.m. All life in the Sea of Azov could be completely wiped out as a consequence of the bombing of the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol by Russia, Mariupol City Council has warned. The council said a technical facility in Azovstal that holds tens of thousands of tons of concentrated sulfuric acid may have been damaged as a result of bombing of the plant by Russian troops. If the acid were to be discharged into the sea, all life would be wiped out, the council said.
4.23 p.m. Ukraine’s army destroyed a command post of a Russian marines brigade, killing three officers and wounding 18 others, the Department of Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said. It said the Ukrainian military destroyed a command post of the 810th Separate Marine Brigade (unit 13140, Sevastopol) of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
4.21 p.m. Sanctions imposed by the West on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine are ending imports of equipment and chemicals for sewage treatment plants, which could lead to Russia drowning in effluent in the literal and figurative sense in the near future, international commentator Ivan Yakovyna said on Radio NV. He also said that Ukraine has “awakened the West,” saving the whole of Western civilization from decline, and now united countries together will be able to isolate China and curb its appetites for world domination.
3.52 p.m. Luhansk Oblast has been left completely without power, with invading Russian forces having shut down the last large substation in the region, reported Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration. "About an hour ago, power disappeared in those houses in the region where it still remained,” Haidai said. “There is active fighting near Lysychansk, there was a hit on a 220 kV power line." Haidai said the damage is very serious, and repairs will be impossible until the cessation of hostilities.
3.43 p.m. The European Commission will provide new macro-financial assistance to Ukraine worth up to EUR 9 billion. According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, these funds will be allocated in the short term for "current needs to support the government, the state budget."
3.21 p.m. Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin has pleaded guilty to killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian in Sumy Oblast. He is the first Russian soldier to plead guilty to war crimes committed in Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
2.44 p.m. Invading Russian troops fired Grad rockets at a column of cars in Kherson Oblast, killing three civilians and wounding six, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office reports. It said the incident took place near the village of Davydiv Brid. The civilians were attempting to drive to the Beryslav district of Kherson Oblast, prosecutors said.
2.41 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has addressed Ukrainians on the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people. In his address, the president of Ukraine drew parallels with 1944, when Crimean Tatars survived deportation and the same crimes that invading Russian troops are committing now – the abduction and deportation of Ukrainians.
2.16 p.m. In Melitopol Ukrainian partisans blew up a Russian army armored train, according to adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko. An explosive charge was detonated under a car with personnel, and the railway line was damaged, Gerashchenko said. The number of killed and wounded is being verified, he said.
1.11 p.m. A Ukrainian army counteroffensive may start in Luhansk Oblast in the summer, Serhiy Haidai, head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration, has said. "According to our information, the Russians are digging in the area of Svatovo and Starobilsk, building fortifications, digging in tanks, digging lines of defense,” Haidai said. “They also understand perfectly well that a counterattack by the Ukrainian military is possible in a month or two.”
1.08 p.m. The death toll from yesterday’s Russian missile strikes on the village of Desna in Chernihiv Oblast has risen to 11, the regional branch of the State Emergencies Service reported. Another 14 more people were injured, the service said. Earlier, eight people were reported killed and 11 injured.
12.08 p.m. Pentagon on the situation in Mariupol: The resistance of the Ukrainian military was admirable. “I think we certainly would defer to them, the Ukrainians, to define what's going on there,” Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing on May 17. “And look, no question that the civilians that were stuck there at the plant, who have finally been able to get out and the soldiers that continued to resist there, did so bravely and skillfully. And it's quite admirable to think how long they were able to hold out. And (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelensky referred to them as heroes. I think we would all agree with that.”
11.37 a.m. The Baltic states and Poland have asked NATO to increase its military presence in their territories due to the threat from Russia, U.S. newspaper the Washington Post reports. "Russia's direct military aggression against NATO allies cannot be ruled out," the Washington Post wrote, quoting a confidential joint proposal from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
10.53 a.m. Three people were injured as a result of this morning’s missile attack by Russia on the eastern-central city of Dnipro, reported head of the Dnipropetrovsk military administration Valentyn Reznichenko. He said that the casualties – two women and one man – had already been taken to hospital.
10.11 a.m. The situation in the Luhansk region is getting worse: the invaders are preparing for an offensive and massing equipment, said Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration. "The Rashists (Russian fascists) continue to collect weapons and equipment from Russia,” Haidai said in a post on the Telegram messenger service. “They are advancing in the Severodonetsk direction, they were trying to get closer to the regional center (Severodonetsk) through Borovenky.”
10.01 a.m. In Sumy Oblast an attack by the enemy from the territory of the Russian Federation was repulsed, said Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, head of the Sumy Regional State Administration. He said that artillery and mortar shelling from Russia into Sumy Oblast began last night. The attack was repulsed, and no one was injured. At half past five in the morning, the Russians fired on the village of Dmytrivka in Okhtyrka district. No one was injured, but a private house was damaged, Zhyvytskyi said.
10.00 a.m. The Russian military launched a missile strike on Odesa Oblast from the Black Sea, the Ukrainian military reported. There was no significant damage or casualties from the attack. The military did not specify where the missile hit.
9.55 a.m. Russia carried out a missile strike on Mykolaiv: an apartment house caught fire, and one person was wounded. According to the State Emergency Service, the victim had shrapnel wounds.
9.45 a.m. Total combat losses of Russia since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the enemy suffered its greatest recent losses in the Slovyansk, Kryvyi Rih and Zaporizhzhya areas. The cumulative totals of losses are as follows (change in last day in parentheses:
Personnel – 28,300 (+400)
Tanks – 1,235 (+16)
Armored fighting vehicles – 3,009 (+34)
Artillery systems – 586 (+8)
Multiple rocket launcher systems – 199 (+1)
Air defense systems – 91 (+1)
Aircraft – 202 (+1)
Helicopters – 167 (+0)
UAV drones of operational and tactical level – 441 (+5)
Cruise missiles – 102 (+5)
Ships / boats – 13 (+0)
Vehicles and tanker trucks – 2,137 (+28)
Special equipment – 43 (+0).
9.23 a.m. The UK Ministry of Defense noted the importance of the defense of Mariupol for Ukraine, and the involvement of Chechen force in capturing the city. The UK ministry noted that the ten-week defense of Mariupol by Ukrainian soldiers had frustrated Russia’s attempts to capture a key Ukrainian city early in the invasion, and “inflicted costly personnel losses amongst Russian forces.” The ministry added that the use of “disparate” resources by the Russian army, such as units from Chechnya, was “likely contributing to a disunited command which continues to hamper Russia’s operations.”
9.13 a.m. Sweden and Finland have simultaneously officially applied for NATO membership: Sweden's Ambassador to NATO Axel Wernhoff and his Finnish counterpart Klaus Korhonen have handed over the application documents to NATO at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The application documents were signed by their countries’ foreign ministers on May 17.
9.01 a.m. Invading Russian forces are preparing an offensive in Zaporizhzhya Obast, Ukraine’s General Staff said. It said that in the Novopavlovsk and Zaporizhzhya areas, Russian forces are strengthening groups of troops to conduct an offensive on Polohi and Orikhiv.
8.38 a.m. In total, more than 653 children have been injured in Ukraine as a result of full-scale armed aggression by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said. A total of 424 children have been injured by Russian attacks.
8.01 a.m. In the Donetsk area, invading Russian forces are continuing their offensive in the Lyman, Severodonetsk, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka and Kurakhiv areas, Ukraine’s General Staff said. In particular, in the Bakhmut and Severodonetsk areas, the Russian invading army has concentrated up to fifteen helicopters to support the offensive in Luhansk Oblast.
7.50 a.m. Russia carried out a missile strike on the eastern-central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, said the head of Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration. Valentyn Reznichenko. "It’s been an anxious night and a restless morning,” Reznichenko wrote on Telegram in the morning of May 18. “There was an enemy attack on Dnipro. One missile was shot down by our air defenses. The wreckage fell into a private yard. A woman was injured, and two houses were damaged. Another missile hit some transport infrastructure. It was destroyed."
7.20 a.m. In Donetsk and Luhansk areas over the last day the Ukrainian army repulsed 12 enemy attacks, Ukraine’s General Staff said in an update. Three tanks, three artillery systems, six units of armored combat vehicles and seven enemy vehicles were destroyed. The occupiers are advancing in the Izyum area, where they have deployed jet and artillery units, the General Staff said.
6.18 a.m. Ukrainian partisans in Russian-occupied Melitopol have killed a high-ranking Russian officer, Zaporizhzhya Oblast Administration said. It noted that on May 17, the Russian military intensified inspections of private vehicles – probably in search of guerrillas.
5.45 a.m. Invading Russian forces have introduced a procedure of "filtration" in each occupied city, Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova said. According to her, for "especially dangerous" in the ideological sense and "unreliable" Ukrainians, "filtration" is becoming a continual process – people are forced to go through it every three days. Citizens of Ukraine are also interrogated, carefully examined, and held in inhumane conditions, humiliated and tortured.
4:53 a.m. The Russian military has brought into the temporarily occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol in Zaporizhzhya Oblast "whisperers," who seed fake narratives in support of the invading Russian forces, Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said in a post in the Telegram messenger service.
4.46 a.m. The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine has opened a Diya.Biznes Action Center in Warsaw. This is due to the fact that a large number of Ukrainians have sought refuge in Poland due to the full-scale invasion of Russia.
3.43 a.m. Ukraine’s armed forces destroyed 15 enemy air targets on May 17, the General Staff reported. The Air Force's strike aircraft struck at the company's tactical company groups, equipment, manpower, and enemy ammunition depots, the General Staff said.
3.13 a.m. Ukraine’s General Staff reported that Ukrainian artillery of its assault and ground forces had destroyed an enemy battery of Buk anti-aircraft missile systems.
3.03 a.m. The United States and its European allies are setting up routes to export Ukrainian wheat and corn, U.S. cable television news channel CNN reported. The task will be the focus of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at a meeting at the UN, CNN said.
3:03 a.m. Russia has taken hostage 280 Ukrainians in Zaporizhzhya Oblast, the regional administration reported. So far, 163 of them have been released, and 117 are still being held captive by the invaders.
2.29 a.m. The United States plans to deprive Russia of the ability to pay back debts on its government bonds. This will lead to an inevitable default in Russia, writes news agency Bloomberg, citing its sources.
2.00 a.m. Ukraine must decide for itself how to end the war waged by Russia against it, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. The United States is doing everything to ensure that Ukrainians successfully achieve their goals, the State Department said.
1.58 a.m. Adviser to the head of the President's Office Oleksiy Arestovich said that as of May 17 in Russia's war against Ukraine, Ukraine’s military had liberated one-and-a-half times more territory than had been occupied by Russian occupation forces since the full-scale invasion began on Feb. 24. He said that the largest concentration of Russian troops is concentrated in the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine, as well as in places where they are trying to attack.
12.10 a.m. In his nightly video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the mission to evacuate Ukraine’s soldiers from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol was underway, led by the Ukrainian military and intelligence agencies. The head of state said that he had discussed the issue during a conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.