March 18, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, George Ramsay, Jeevan Ravindran, Laura Smith-Spark, Peter Wilkinson, Adrienne Vogt and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, March 19, 2022
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11:29 a.m. ET, March 18, 2022

US citizen killed in Ukraine described increasing hardships for civilians in Chernihiv

From CNN's Steve Almasy

James Whitney Hill is seen in this 2013 Facebook photo.
James Whitney Hill is seen in this 2013 Facebook photo. (From James Whitney Hill)

Months before Russian troops attacked Ukraine, American Jimmy Hill went there to be with his Ukranian partner, Ira, who has multiple sclerosis. When war broke out, Hill stayed, despite the deteriorating conditions in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.

"He was not going to leave Ira's side in her condition," Hill's sister Katya told CNN. "Jim was in Ukraine this time because he had gotten medicine from the United States and had found a doctor in Chernihiv that would treat her."

Hill was among dozens of civilians killed by the Russian onslaught Thursday in Chernihiv.

Ukrainian police said he died during artillery fire. His sister told CNN the family didn't get specifics about his death from the US Embassy.

Chernihiv, to the northeast of Kyiv and close to the Russian border, has seen some of the most intense shelling from Russian forces since the war began more than three weeks ago.

Hill often traveled to Ukraine yearly to visit his partner, according to his longtime friend Karin Moseley. They had been together for around 13 years, she told CNN.

His Facebook posts throughout March chronicled the worsening situation in Chernihiv, detailing air raid sirens, daily explosions and an "orange sky over the city" amid fires. His final entry read: "Bombing has intensified noway (sic) out."

A school in the Czech Republic where Hill taught posted a statement on Facebook expressing their loss. 

“Jimmy was a passionate teacher in our Summer School on Crime, Law and Psychology program since 2014 and was loved by the students from all over the world. We will miss Jimmy very much," the Prague Summer Schools said in the post.

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11:21 p.m. ET, March 17, 2022

Arnold Schwarzenegger's message to Russians: "Help me spread the truth"

From CNN's Travis Caldwell

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made an impassioned appeal to the Russian people in a video posted on social media, asking them to resist their country's disinformation as the devastating invasion of Ukraine continues.

Schwarzenegger said he was "sending this message through various different channels" for Russian citizens and soldiers, and hoped his message about the atrocities committed by its government and military would break through. The video posted on Twitter has more than 16 million views.

"Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis," he said. "Those in power in the Kremlin started this war."

Russian President Vladimir Putin and government officials have made false accusations toward Ukraine as their motivations for the invasion, baselessly saying the country must "deNazify."

"There are things that are going on in the world that are being kept from you, terrible things that you should know about," Schwarzenegger said.
"I know the Russian people are not aware such things are happening, so I urge the Russian people and the Russian soldiers in Ukraine to understand the propaganda and the disinformation that you are being told. I ask you to help me spread the truth."

He heavily criticized the Russian government for the invasion, saying they "lied not only to its citizens but to its soldiers" for the reasons behind the war.

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11:24 p.m. ET, March 17, 2022

UK Defense Ministry: "Faltering" Russian troops face logistical challenges like food shortages

From CNN's Josh Campbell and Masha Angelova 

A column of Russian military vehicles is seen abandoned in a forest near Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 6.
A column of Russian military vehicles is seen abandoned in a forest near Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 6. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian military continues to face logistical problems in its “faltering invasion of Ukraine,” Britain's Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Thursday. 

In its latest intelligence update, the ministry said Russian forces were being prevented from resupplying “forward troops with even basic essentials such as food and fuel,” due to their inability to control Ukrainian airspace and challenges on the ground.

Russian forces have been reluctant to maneuver across the country, the ministry said, but did not provide additional details on its knowledge of Russia’s strategic moves. 

“Reluctance to maneuver cross-country, lack of control of the air and limited bridging capabilities are preventing Russia from effectively resupplying their forward troops with basic essentials such as food and fuel,” the ministry said. 
“Incessant Ukrainian counterattacks are forcing Russia to divert large numbers of troops to their own supply Iines. This is severely limiting Russia’s offensive potential.”
12:12 a.m. ET, March 18, 2022

Ukraine's UN ambassador confronts Russian counterpart about civilians killed in attacks

From CNN staff

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya 
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya  (UNTV)

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya directly addressed his Russian counterpart at the UN Security Council on Thursday about civilians killed by Russians in Ukraine.

"Ambassador, do the eyes of Ukrainian children, women, and elderly killed by the Russians flash before you?" Kyslytsya asked.

He continued, "If they do, we may consider how to sponsor a decision to help you deal with perpetration-inducted traumatic stress. But now, have some decency and stop the egregious manipulation of the Security Council. It is obscene."

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia did not respond to the comments during the meeting, but later told reporters he does not "engage in personal exchanges" with Kyslytsya. 

"But when he asked about the eyes of children killed, I would also like to ask him whether he had any remorse when he thought about the children of Donetsk that were killed by Ukrainian forces," Nebenzia said.

Kyslytsya also spoke to reporters after the meeting, saying there has not been any improvement in the situation in Ukraine. 

"No, there is no improvement. The actions of the Russian Federation continue to be very brazen and the atrocities are taking place every day, unfortunately," Kyslytsya said.

12:16 a.m. ET, March 18, 2022

Mariupol suffering 50 to 100 attacks daily, city council says

From CNN staff

Residential buildings damaged by rocket and air strikes are seen in Mariupol, Ukraine on Thursday, March 17.
Residential buildings damaged by rocket and air strikes are seen in Mariupol, Ukraine on Thursday, March 17. (Maksim Blinov/Sputnik/AP)

Mariupol is being hit by between 50 to 100 artillery shells daily, according to the council of the besieged Ukrainian city. 

"The city has been under blockade for 16 days, more than 350,000 Mariupol residents continue to hide in shelters and basements from continuous shelling by Russian occupation forces," a city council statement said. 

It continued: “About 80% of the city's housing stock has been hit, almost 30% of which cannot be restored.” 

The statement, released early Thursday evening, said information about casualties from the attack on the theater being used as a shelter was still being clarified. 

8:42 p.m. ET, March 17, 2022

Questions over Russia's military readiness as casualties mount in Ukraine

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis and Jeremy Herb

Thousands of Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine since Russia's invasion began nearly one month ago, US and NATO officials told CNN this week, and Russia is now struggling to resupply those forces as it faces sagging troop morale and fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Russia's offensive to capture Kyiv has largely stalled, NATO officials said, and on Thursday Ukraine said it launched a counteroffensive aimed at gaining decisive control of the city's suburbs.

US and allied intelligence assessments vary widely as to exactly how many Russian forces have been killed to date, sources familiar with the intelligence tell CNN. But even the lowest estimates are in the thousands.

One such assessment found that approximately 7,000 Russian troops have been killed so far, said one of the sources. But that figure, first reported by The New York Times, is on the higher end of US estimates, which vary because the US and its allies have no precise way of counting casualties. Some estimates place the number of Russian troops killed in Ukraine at about 3,000, whereas others suggest more than 10,000 have been killed.

So far, the number has been calculated largely via open source reporting from non-governmental organizations, the Ukrainian government, commercial satellite imagery, and intercepted Russian communications. US officials have also extrapolated numbers of dead based on the number of Russian tanks that have been destroyed, the sources said.

Regardless of the precise number, US and western intelligence officials have observed that Russia is having difficulty replacing its forces, which is having a significant impact on Russian troop morale, senior NATO officials said on Wednesday.

"It becomes more evident every day that Putin gravely miscalculated," a senior NATO intelligence official told reporters at NATO headquarters on Wednesday night, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose sensitive assessments. "Russia continues to face difficulties replacing its combat losses, and increasingly seeks to leverage irregular forces, including Russian private military corporations and Syrian fighters."

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