Russian air strikes have hit a Ukrainian military training base outside the western city of Lviv near the Polish border, leaving many people dead and wounded – although there was significant discrepancy in the figures provided by Ukraine and Russia.
Ukrainian officials said there had been an increase in civilian evacuations from cities under Russian bombardment on Sunday and that a relief convoy was attempting to enter the besieged city of Mariupol.
Russian troops cracked down on protesters in the Russian-controlled southern city of Kherson, and a US journalist was killed by Russian troops near Kyiv.
Here were the main military developments on Sunday – the 18th day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Military base attack
Lviv’s governor said at least 35 people were killed and 134 others wounded as more than 30 cruise missiles from Russia hit the Yavoriv military training facility, also known as the International Peacekeeping and Security Center.
However, Russia’s Defence Ministry Spokesperson Igor Konashenkov has said the strikes had killed “up to 180 foreign mercenaries” and destroyed a large amount of weapons supplied by foreign nations.
The facility served as a crucial hub for cooperation between Ukraine and the NATO countries supporting Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s invasion. It was the most western attack since Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine on February 24.
The international airport in Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine was also hit by a missile, according to the city’s mayor.
Death toll rises in Mariupol
The city council of the besieged southern port Mariupol has said 2,187 residents have been killed since the start of Russia’s invasion.
The council said in a statement on Sunday that Russia has dropped more than 100 bombs on Mariupol, with 22 bombings in the last 24 hours.
Ukraine was able to evacuate more than 5,550 people from front line cities on Sunday via nine humanitarian corridors, deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a total of nearly 125,000 civilians had been evacuated through safe-passage corridors so far, and that a convoy with humanitarian aid – including food, water, and medicine – for Mariupol is close to the city.
The city council said the situation in Mariupol is dire as it is running out of its last reserves of food and water, and Russian forces blockading the city continue to shell non-military targets.
As fighting increases in the eastern Donetsk region, new evacuation routes are being opened for civilians a Ukrainian presidency spokesperson said.
The head of Luhansk regional administration, Serhiy Haidai, said there had been massive shelling of several towns, including Kreminna and Rubizhne, which had prevented buses from leaving with civilians.
Journalist killed near Kyiv
US journalist Brent Renaud was killed in Irpin, about 10km (6 miles) northwest of the capital, when Russian troops opened fire on the car he was travelling in, the Kyiv police force said in a statement. A journalist travelling with him was injured and taken to hospital in Kyiv.
Irpin has been shelled by Russian forces for days, and the mayor has ordered journalists not to enter the city due to the danger of attacks.
Fighting continued to rage in the Kyiv suburbs as Russian forces advanced. The Ukrainian president’s office said that only roads to the south remain open.
Russia consolidates control in southern Ukraine
Russia continues to occupy three major Ukrainian cities in the south of the country – Kherson, Melitopol, and Berdyansk.
All of them have seen daily demonstrations against Russian forces, prompting the Russian military administration to take tough measures and ban protests.
Russian troops fired warning shots on Sunday at protesters in Kherson, which was seized by the Russian army earlier in March, a local broadcaster reported.
Nine people have been killed in a Russian bombardment near Mykolaiv, near the strategic port of Odesa in southern Ukraine, the regional governor said.
Ukrainian official accuses Russia of using phosphorus munitions
Ukraine’s human rights ombudswoman shared photos purporting to show that Russia used banned phosphorus munitions in an overnight attack on the town of Popasna in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region. The claims could not be independently verified.
“The bombing of a civilian city by the Russian attackers with these weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity according to the Rome convention,” Lyudmila Denisova said.