The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Lyman overtaken by Russians; French journalist killed in Severodonetsk area

One of Severodonetsk's ruined buildings on May 18. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian forces closing in on the city of Severodonetsk killed a French journalist who was covering evacuations in one of the last major Ukrainian-held areas of the country’s eastern Luhansk oblast, officials said Monday.

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The city, which has lost most of its buildings and critical infrastructure in attacks, is a key objective for Russian troops aiming to gain control of the Donbas region. A Ukraine official acknowledged Monday for the first time that Russian forces had taken over the city of Lyman, where Kremlin-backed troops had outgunned Ukrainian defenders.

Meanwhile, European Union countries finally reached a deal to phase out Russian oil imports, though the impact will be reduced by an exemption for pipeline oil — a concession to Hungary and other holdouts.

Here’s what else to know

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked leaders of the European Union to hasten his nation’s entry into the 27-nation bloc and further isolate Russia with a new package of sanctions.
  • A senior U.S. official said Monday that President Biden has not ruled out sending Ukraine the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, after Biden told reporters earlier that the United States would not “send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.”
  • Billionaire Roman Abramovich sold the Chelsea soccer club to a group that includes a partial owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday after Western authorities pushed for the Russian oligarch’s ouster.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.
2:49 p.m.
Headshot of Meryl Kornfield
Zelensky again urges Russian oil ban — In his Monday remarks to the European Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pushed leaders to ban oil imports from Russia, echoing his frequent calls for the 27 nations to isolate Russia from the world and recognize Ukraine as a member of the European Union. In a video address, Zelensky told leaders of the bloc that he does not fault them for the invasion, and he appealed to a sense of unity among leaders concerned about the global consequences of Russian aggression.