Your Monday Briefing

‘Mission accomplished’ in Bakhmut?

Russia has claimed victory in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Though Moscow is trumpeting a “mission accomplished” moment, Ukraine insists that the city has not completely fallen. But while the deadliest battle of the war might be over, what comes next is far from clear.

Bakhmut is in ruins, and controlling it would not necessarily help Moscow toward its larger goal — conquering the entire eastern region of Donbas — now that Ukrainian troops have worn out Russian forces and broken through their defenses in some areas to the city’s north and south.

Ukrainian officials say they now plan to rain artillery on Russian forces occupying Bakhmut. Military analysts say that if Moscow continues to send reinforcements to defend the city, that may weaken Russian forces’ ability to hold off a broader counteroffensive that Ukraine says it is about to begin.

Quotable “You have to understand, there is nothing,” President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said of the razed city, once home to 80,000 people. He added, “There is nothing on this space, just ground and a lot of dead Russians.”

In other news from the war:

U.S. tech start-ups are using the war in Ukraine to demonstrate a new generation of military systems.

At the G7 summit, President Biden and other world leaders vowed further support and more weapons shipments for Ukraine.

Results from the Greek election

In a decisive victory, New Democracy, the party of Greece’s conservative prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, captured 40.8 percent of the votes in the country’s general election, preliminary results showed. But the party fell short of the majority required to lead a one-party government, potentially setting the stage for another ballot within weeks.

Mitsotakis described the preliminary outcome as a “political earthquake” that called for an “experienced hand to the helm” of Greece, and said that any negotiations with fractious potential coalition partners would lead only to a dead end.

Because Mitsotakis appears to have ruled out forming a governing coalition, a second vote would be held under a different system, which grants bonus seats to the winning party, giving New Democracy a better chance of forming an independent government.

Hot-button issue: E.U. leaders have lauded Mitsotakis, appearing to cut him some slack for doing the continent’s unpleasant work of keeping migrants at bay, though he has been accused of illegally pushing asylum seekers back at sea.

Negotiations on U.S. debt limit

President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to meet this afternoon to try to jump-start talks aimed at averting a default on America’s debt. Negotiations faltered over the weekend as the two sides clashed over Republicans’ demands to cut spending in exchange for raising the debt limit.

Negotiators are working against a punishing clock. The debt ceiling, the statutory limit on the government’s power to borrow to pay its obligations, is projected to be reached as soon as June 1.

Biden and McCarthy are negotiating over a fiscal package that would raise the limit, which Republicans have refused to do without spending cuts. They remain far apart on key issues, including on caps for federal spending, on new work requirements for some recipients of federal antipoverty assistance and on funding meant to help the I.R.S. crack down on high earners and corporations that evade taxes.

This week: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to provide another update to Congress on the government’s cash balance.


Other Big Stories

Warring groups in Sudan agreed to a seven-day cease-fire set to begin today, the first truce to be signed by both sides.

The U.S. is entering an array of agreements to secure the critical minerals necessary for the transition to electric cars, but it’s uncertain whether the deals will succeed.

Residents of the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna face a challenging recovery after devastating flooding that killed 14 people and left thousands homeless.

At the G7 summit, countries wrangled over how to manage their climate commitments.

A stampede at a soccer stadium in El Salvador killed 12 people.

From Opinion

Office workers hate the commute, not the office, Farhad Manjoo writes.

Grieving the loss of her 14-year-old daughter to cancer, Sarah Wildman has seen a future stolen.

In this video, Miki Katoni explores how homophobic groups in the Orthodox Jewish community wield fake science to prey on young gay people.

Rachel Connolly asks: Where did our culture of ratings and rankings come from, and how did it take over our lives?

For Elise Loehnen, the life her mother might have had — one without children, and with more opportunities to realize her ambitions — ricochets within her own.

A Morning Read

For thousands of Afghans, the American withdrawal from Kabul was just the beginning of a long, dangerous search for safety that has taken them halfway around the world and through the jungles of South and Central America.

These desperate, unfathomable journeys represent the collision of two of President Biden’s biggest policy crises: the hasty American withdrawal from Afghanistan and the record number of migrants crossing the U.S. border.

Lives Lived

The British writer Martin Amis, known for his caustic, erudite and bleakly comic novels, has died at 73.


Barcelona Femeni loses its first league game in nearly two years: Barcelona Femeni lost to Madrid CFF, 2-1, its first league defeat since June 2021.

How Pirelli seeks the balance of F1’s most vital variable: Pirelli is charged with producing tires that make for competitive racing.

From The Times: Brooks Koepka triumphed at the P.G.A. Championship, becoming the first member of LIV Golf to win a major title since joining the circuit.


African architecture on the cutting edge

The Architecture Biennale that opened on Saturday in Venice explores how cultures from Africa can shape the buildings of the future.

For the first time, the exhibition will have a curator of African descent, Lesley Lokko, and more than half of the Biennale’s 89 participants are from Africa or the African diaspora.

The work of Sechaba Maape, who was inspired by South Africa’s first nations and their connection to nature, is being shown in that country’s national pavilion. Globally, architecture has begun to trend toward biomimicry, in which the built environment emulates the natural one. African design, says Maape, has always done this through pattern and form. The response in Venice and on social media has been overwhelming, he said.

“Architecture should be the thing that instead of separating us from our home, the Earth, should help us feel more mediated, more connected,” Maape said. — Lynsey Chutel, a Briefings writer in Johannesburg.


What to Cook

A simple, refreshing salad of cucumber, avocado and sesame.

What to Listen to

Eight songs for ambience and tranquillity.


Read your way through Los Angeles.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “All the President’s ___” (three letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. A puppuccino and a beef woofslider? The latest in canine travel: high-end hotel amenities for dogs.

“The Daily” is about the darker side of James Webb, for whom a famous telescope is named.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

Source: Read Full Article