Day 419: Zelenskyi in Avdiyivka, 7,000 Ukrainian service personnel missing

Russian forces shell Kherson and the town of Ukrainsk, in Donetsk region, causing civilian casualties. More than 7,000 Ukrainian service personnel are reported missing. President Zelenskyi visits frontline troops in Avdiyivka.

Russia shells Kherson, Ukrainsk, causing civilian casualties 

On the morning of April 18, Russian shells pummeled the center of Kherson, killing one person and injuring nine others, head of the Kherson regional military administration Oleksandr Prokudin said. 

An artillery strike hit an area near the central market, head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak said.

Prokudin released photos of Kherson after the Russian attack, emphasizing that there are no military sites around where the shells hit. 

A Russian artillery strike hit a residential neighborhood and a market in Ukrainsk, in Donetsk region, injuring at least eight people.

“The Russians shelled the town this morning. The strike damaged three apartment buildings and 18 stalls at the central market,” head of the Donetsk regional military administration Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a post on Telegram.

All injured are being treated in a hospital, he added.

More than 7,000 Ukrainian service personnel missing, ombudsman says

As of April 2023, around 7,000 Ukrainian service members are reported missing, the Ukrainian Government’s Commissioner on missing persons under special circumstances Oleh Kotenko said on television.

“The number we have is a little more than seven thousand. Our estimate is that the missing people we are searching for are held captive,” Kotenko said.

He said he thinks that 60-65 per cent of the missing service personnel are alive and in captivity.

Zelenskyi visits frontline troops in Avdiyivka

On Tuesday, April 18, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi visited frontline troops in Avdiyivka, in Donetsk region, the Office of the President said.

The president was briefed by the commander of the “Donetsk” operational tactical group.

Zelenskyi also spoke with the service members from marine, airborne assault, mechanized and artillery units. He thanked them for the service.

“I am honored to be here today, to thank you for the service, for defending our land, Ukraine, and our families. Congratulations on the holidays, on Easter, I wish you only victory — this is what I wish for every Ukrainian, this is what is very important to all of us. I wish good health to all of you and your families. Let me thank you sincerely on behalf of every Ukrainian for the great path that you walk along every day,” he said.

Zelenskyi released a video on Telegram, showing the aftermath of Russian attacks on Avdiyivka.

Opportunities for Ukraine in the Shifting Balance of Power in the Middle East. Ukraine in Flames #403

Ihor Semyvolos, Executive Director of the Association of Middle East Studies, and Ilya Kusa, an expert on international policy at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, provide valuable insights into the implications of Ukraine’s foreign policy in the Middle Eastern region and its potential impact on the post-war arena in an interview with Ukraine Media Centre. According to experts, the United States’ influence has waned over time, with it now focusing on the war in Ukraine and the power balance in Asia. As a result, countries in the Middle Eastern region now have the opportunity to shape their own future. However, in order to seize this opportunity, Ukraine must strengthen its ties.

Tune in to Ukraine in Flames #403 to learn more about how Ukraine must seize this opportunity and how the regions’ diplomacy architect could impact the war.


  • Ihor Semyvolos Executive Director of the Association of Middle East Studies
  • Ilya Kusa Expert on international policy at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future