The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported Monday additional Russian efforts to degrade Ukrainian defenses in Luhansk and Donetsk, saying that artillery, airstrikes and missiles had been used in several places — including Lysychansk and Soledar.
Meanwhile, Russian pressure on Severodonetsk, a city where two-thirds of properties have been reported as destroyed, continues — with the General Staff saying that hostilities persist in and around the city.
As the Russians attack Ukrainian lines in Donbas from the south, east and north, there are conflicting claims about their progress.
The General Staff said that fighting continues around the village of Komyshuvakha, to the southwest of Severodonetsk. Social media video geolocated by CNN appears to show a Chechen unit in the village, with drone footage suggesting Ukrainian soldiers retreating from the area. "This locality is now under our control, and we will begin storming all fronts. We have seized, completely — you could say — Komyshuvakha," a Chechen commander said.
Ukraine has claimed some success in its offensive in the south, which began during the weekend. "The enemy suffered losses and withdrew from the village of Mykolaivka, Kherson region, which led to panic among servicemen of other units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation," the General Staff said.
Here are more of the latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war:
- Biden says Ukraine's battle against Russia is "part of a larger fight that unites all people": US President Joe Biden took the opportunity to tie the solemnity of the US Memorial Day holiday Monday to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “In this moment, when a war of aggression is once more be waged by Russia to snuff out the freedom and democracy the very culture and identity of neighboring Ukraine, see so clearly all that's at stake – freedom has never been free, democracy has always required champions," Biden said during remarks from the Arlington National Cemetery.
- EU "cannot afford" for no agreement to be reached on new round of Russian sanctions, parliament chief says: The European Union "cannot afford" for no agreement to be reached on the bloc's proposed sixth round of sanctions against Russia, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said Monday. "I really hope there will be an agreement. We cannot afford there not to be," Metsola told a news conference in Brussels after meeting with the heads of EU member states. "While I understand the realities facing different countries, there is a limit as to how much flexibility we can allow without losing credibility vis vie our populations," she stressed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday called on the EU to put aside internal disputes and push on with plans to approve the bloc's proposed new round of sanctions.
- Biden says he won't send rockets to Ukraine that could reach Russia: The US President said he doesn't plan to ship any rockets to Ukraine that could reach Russian territory. "I won't send anything that can fire into Russia," Biden said at the White House on Monday when asked whether he was planning to send long-range rockets to Ukraine. CNN reported last week the Biden administration is preparing to step up the kind of weaponry it is offering Ukraine by sending advanced, long-range rocket systems that are now the top request from Ukrainian officials.
- Ukrainian official claims military victory against Russia "unlikely" if US holds back long-range artillery: A military victory against Russia is “unlikely” if the United States holds back supplies of long-range artillery, a senior Ukrainian official tells CNN. Alexey Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential advisor, told CNN the weapons are “essential for (the) fate of Ukraine and its independence.”
- Turkey offers to host talks between Russia, Ukraine and the UN: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, offered to host talks between Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations in Istanbul, according to a Turkish readout of the call. Erdogan stressed to Putin the "need for steps that will minimize the negative effects of the war" and reestablish peace between Russia and Ukraine "as soon as possible," according to the readout. Russian and Ukrainian delegations last met for talks in Istanbul on March 29.
- French journalist killed in Ukraine: French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that a French journalist had been shot and killed in Ukraine. “Journalist, Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was in Ukraine to show the reality of the war. On board a humanitarian bus, alongside civilians forced to flee to escape the Russian bombs, he was fatally shot,” the French president tweeted. “I share the grief of the family, friends and colleagues of Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, to whom I send my condolences. To those who carry out the difficult mission of providing information in theaters of operation, I want to reiterate France's unconditional support,” Macron added.
- Russian shelling continues in Ukraine's northeast and south, says Ukrainian military: Russia "does not stop conducting offensive operations" in the eastern areas of Ukraine, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its daily update on Monday. In the Kharkiv region in the northeast, Russia fired on the areas north and northeast of the city, Ukraine’s military said.
- Eurovision winners sell trophy to buy drones for Ukraine’s military: The Ukrainian winners of this year's Eurovision Song Contest — Kalush Orchestra— announced Monday that they sold their trophy for $900,000, with funds going toward buying drones for their country’s military. The group was presented with the crystal microphone trophy earlier this month after winning this year’s contest, beating competition from main rivals the United Kingdom and Spain.
Here's a look at the Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine: