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Live updates: Russia invades Ukraine, explosions heard near Lviv airport

A Ukrainian serviceman stands among debris after shelling in a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18.
A Ukrainian serviceman stands among debris after shelling in a residential area in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 18. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Intense fighting and shelling continued across different parts of Ukraine on Friday. Here’s what you should know:

Impacted areas: Multiple explosions were heard at about 6:30 a.m. local time and smoke was seen rising in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, according to a CNN team on the ground. Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said the Russian missiles struck an aircraft repair plant, which is close to Lviv airport. Russia launched six missiles toward the city, but two of them were intercepted by air defense systems, according to the Ukrainian armed forces.

One person died and four others were injured as a fire broke out after the remains of a downed rocket hit the five-story residential building in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv on Friday, Ukraine’s Emergency Service said.

At least two people have died and six were wounded after a missile strike in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional administration.

Russian losses: At least five Russian servicemen, including the commander of the Kostroma airborne forces, died in battle in Ukraine, Russian regional state TV network GTRK Kostroma reported Thursday.

Evacuations: Nine corridors to evacuate civilians from towns and cities badly hit by Russian attacks have been agreed for Friday, according to the Ukrainian government. For the second day running, one of the agreed corridors links the besieged southeastern city of Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, which remains under Ukrainian control.

Biden-Xi call: A call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden was underway Friday. Since the war began, China has tried to project a neutral stance. It has not condemned Russian actions, and has refused to label the attack an invasion. Chinese diplomats have criticized NATO expansion and accused the United States of fueling the conflict. But they have also called for a diplomatic solution.

Though not military allies, China and Russia have in recent years burnished their partnership in trade, technology and coordination of military exercises, while becoming increasingly vocal about what they view as Western interference into their domestic affairs — pushing back on US-led sanctions and often voting as a bloc in the United Nations.

Russia has asked China for military and economic support and Beijing has expressed some openness to this request, according to US intelligence and diplomacy officials. It is not yet clear whether China intends to provide Russia with that help, US officials familiar with the intelligence tell CNN — but according to the White House, Biden will lay out the potential ramifications of such an action during the call with Xi.

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