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Russia intensifies push to seize Luhansk

Deafening explosions echoed across Severodonetsk on June 20, following weeks of Russian and Ukrainian forces fighting for control of the city. (Video: Reuters)

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The fate of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region is on the line as Russian forces continue to advance. Ukraine says the village of Toshkivka, south of Lysychansk, fell to Russia this week and is being used as a base to bombard the city, where Ukrainian forces are digging in. “Hellish battles” are ongoing in Severodonetsk, the regional governor said Wednesday, while Lysychansk is “constantly suffering from enemy fire.”

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Elsewhere in Europe, Russia’s stranglehold on gas could force the hand of governments intent on reducing carbon emissions back toward coal power.

Ahead of a European Council summit Thursday and Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is conducting a marathon session of calls with leaders across the continent to maximize his country’s chances of being granted candidate status for membership in the European Union. “The lives of thousands of people depend directly on the speed of our partners — on the speed of implementation of their decisions to help Ukraine,” he said in a speech Tuesday night.

E.U. poised to back Ukraine’s candidate status. Here’s what it means.

Here’s what else to know

  • Amid the invasion of Ukraine, the international view of Russia has taken a hit; the images of the United States and NATO have not, according to polling by Pew.
  • Washington “continues to systematically destroy bilateral relations, which are already in a deplorable state,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. She was responding to the U.S. decision not to allow Russian aircraft to convey Russian diplomats from the United States.
  • The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said Russian forces “executed” a Ukrainian photojournalist and a soldier who accompanied him in a forest near Kyiv in March.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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