Russian missiles Lviv | Reuters

  • Russian missiles strike near Lviv
  • Biden will speak with Xi on Friday
  • American citizen among civilians killed in Chernihiv
  • Negotiators are still far from negotiating

KYIV / LVIV, Ukraine, March 18 (Reuters) – Russia on Friday fired missiles at an airport near the town of Lviv, where hundreds of thousands of refugees have taken refuge, far from Ukraine’s battlefields. Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden was due to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping later on Friday, who did not condemn Russia’s war machine in its attempt to isolate Moscow from another major power.

More than three weeks after President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion to suppress what he calls an artificial state unworthy of the country, Ukraine’s elected government is still standing and Russian forces have not even captured a major city.

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Russian troops have wreaked havoc on residential areas, leaving more than 3 million refugees stranded. Moscow refuses to target civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to disarm its neighbors.

“Russian forces have made minimal progress this week,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said in a daily military intelligence update.

“Ukrainian forces around Kiev and Mykoliv continue to thwart Russian attempts to encircle the cities. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumi and Mariupol have been cordoned off and subjected to heavy Russian shelling.”

At least three blasts were heard near Livy Airport on Friday morning, with videos showing large explosions and mushroom-shaped smoke rising on social media.

Lviv’s mayor, Andriy Sadovy, said several missiles struck the air base, destroying buildings, but there were no casualties.

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In western Ukraine, the city near the Polish border is hundreds of miles from Russia’s progress and has been one of the main centers for Ukrainians forced to leave war zones.

Ukrainian authorities have recently stepped up missile strikes on scattered targets in western Ukraine, which Ukrainian authorities see as an attempt to expand the conflict beyond the areas where their troops are now trapped.

Biden puts pressure on Beijing

China is Russia’s last major economic lifeline as sanctions and diplomatic boycott have cut Russia off from the world’s advanced economies.

Putin and Xi signed a friendship agreement three weeks before the invasion at a lavish event on the morning of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing last month. The document reiterated some of Russia’s grievances against Ukraine.

UN condemns Russia China, which abstained from voting on the resolutions, has so far been cautious in public, refusing to refer to the attack as an invasion and repeating criticism of the West.

But Washington announced $ 800 million in new military aid to Kyiv this week, saying Moscow now wants more from Beijing than just diplomatic protection, and has asked for money and weapons to continue the war, with Moscow and Beijing refusing.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States was concerned that “China is considering directly assisting Russia with military equipment for use in Ukraine.”

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Describing Putin as a “murderous dictator,” Biden told reporters that he would make it clear to Xi in his call that “China must be held accountable for any action taken in support of Russia’s occupation.” The two leaders are scheduled to speak at 1300 GMT.

“Beijing will do everything it can to avoid openly taking sides, but the relatively inexpensive relationship with Russia has become complicated, exposing China to the now-emerging geopolitical, economic and reputation risks,” said leading analyst Helena Legarda. At the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies.

Hours before the phone call, China said an aircraft carrier passed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait – in the shadow of an American warship – a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. read more

Russia has been actively shelling eastern Ukrainian cities, especially the southern ports under siege for three weeks in Chernihiv, Sumi, Kharkiv and Mariupol.

One of those killed in Chernivtsi was an American citizen, Jimmy Hill, who was shot dead while waiting in line for bread, his family said. read more

“His body was found on the street,” his sister wrote on Facebook.

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Reuters bureau report; Written by Peter Groff; Editing by Thomas Janowski

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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