Your Thursday Briefing

Bulgaria’s sole oil refinery, the Russian-owned Lukoil Neftochim Burgas, on the country’s Black Sea coast.Credit…Nikolay Doychinov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The E.U. plans to ban Russian oil

As Russia’s war on Ukraine continues, the E.U. announced plans yesterday to place an embargo on Russian oil, its biggest sacrifice yet to inflict pain on Russia and its economy. The measure would ban Russian crude oil imports to nearly all of the E.U. in the next six months, and refined oil products by the end of the year. It is expected to be approved within days.

The move is a landmark moment in the bloc’s support of Ukraine. The E.U. gets about 27 percent of its crude oil imports from Russia and a higher share of its oil products, paying billions of dollars a month that have in turn allowed Moscow to build up its military. The embargo represents a serious economic hardship that many E.U. countries had resisted.

According to diplomats familiar with the documents, Hungary and Slovakia would be given until December 2023 to ban Russian oil and more concessions could be made before the embargo was finalized. Those two countries, which have outsize dependence on such imports, make up a small fraction of the bloc’s Russian oil imports.

Background: The E.U. banned Russian coal last month, but has stopped short of banning Russian natural gas, which most E.U. countries rely on for heating and electricity. The bloc has laid out plans to gradually wean itself off it in the coming years.

Quotable: “Let us be clear, it will not be easy,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission. “Some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to work on it.”

Russian servicemen marched in a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Wednesday.Credit…Natalia Kolesnikova/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Concern as Russia prepares for its Victory Day holiday

Western officials and Ukraine’s traumatized residents are looking with increased alarm to Russia’s Victory Day holiday on Monday — a celebration of the Soviet triumph over Nazi Germany. Some fear that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, may exploit the occasion to intensify attacks and marshal his citizenry against Ukraine.

With Russia facing an E.U. oil embargo, Putin may see the need to jolt the West with a new escalation, including expanding the scope of the conflict. Ben Wallace, the British defense secretary, predicted last week that Putin would use the occasion to declare mass mobilization or an all-out war.

Such a declaration would present a new challenge to war-battered Ukraine, as well as to Washington and its NATO allies as they try to counter Russian aggression without entangling themselves directly in the conflict. But the Kremlin has denied any such plans, and Russia analysts noted that announcing a military draft could provoke a domestic backlash.

Preparations: Russia is readying itself to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Army’s victory over the Nazis on May 9. Russian state media reported that warplanes were practicing flying in formations over Moscow’s Red Square, and Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency said that Russians were attempting to make the ruined city of Mariupol presentable as “the center of celebrations.”

In other news from the war in Ukraine:

  • The U.S. has provided intelligence about Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill approximately 12 Russian generals, a number that has astonished military analysts.

  • Italy is running out of time to confirm the ownership of a $700 million superyacht that the U.S. says is linked to Putin.

The Pew Research Center found that over the past three years, approval of the Supreme Court has declined 15 percentage points.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Draft leak stirs doubt about Supreme Court

The revelation of a sweeping Supreme Court draft opinion that would undo nearly 50 years of legalized access to abortion nationwide has caused Americans across the political spectrum to express doubts about whether the justices are guided by the law, rather than by their political beliefs.

Scholars and political experts have regularly debated whether the court’s steady march to the right was sapping public faith in the court as fundamentally a yasal forum, not least after a number of conservative justices professed their respect for precedent and their view of Roe v. Wade as settled law in confirmation hearings — before apparently voting to overturn it.

Even before the impending decision to revisit abortion rights reopened painful national divisions, public faith in the court had deteriorated sharply. A survey earlier this year found that 54 percent of U.S. adults had a favorable view of the Supreme Court, compared with 65 percent last year.

Analysis: Neil Siegel, a professor at Duke University, said that trust in the institution was damaged both by the disclosure of the opinion and by its mocking tone. “What the leak and the draft have in common is a disregard for the meşru and public legitimacy of the court,” he said.

The Interpreter: In the latest installment of the column, Amanda Taub asks: Is seeking protection for abortion rights through the courts, rather than legislation, a riskier strategy than it evvel seemed?


Around the World

  • In the Mexican state of Michoacán, small drug cartels are competing with larger ones for territory, leaving the residents caught in the middle of a brutal turf war.

  • Poland seized an abandoned 1970s housing complex in Warsaw that had been rented by Russia under a Soviet-era agreement. It pledged to hand the units over to Ukrainian refugees.

  • An $11 million project is underway to restore three decaying synagogues in Venice and preserve the city’s history of harboring European Jews.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Yahya Arhab/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • A report by an alliance of the U.N., the E.U. and anti-hunger agencies said 193 million people in 53 countries or territories suffered hunger at “crisis or worse levels” in 2021, up 26 percent from the record established in 2020.

  • The Fed raised interest rates by another half a percentage point, its biggest increase since 2000.

  • J.D. Vance, a venture capitalist and the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” decisively won the Republican nomination for a Senate seat in Ohio, suggesting the Trump brand still matters.

  • The Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr is giving $1.1 billion to Stanford University to fund a school focused on climate change and sustainability.

What Else Is Happening

  • Children who transition to a new gender are likely to continue identifying as that gender five years later, according to a new study.

  • The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has a class of new inductees, including Lionel Richie, Carly Simon — and Dolly Parton, who had previously asked to “respectfully bow out” of contention.

  • The soccer jersey worn by Diego Maradona when he scored two fabled goals in 1986, one of which he attributed to divine aid, has fetched $9.3 million at auction.

A Morning Read

Credit…Kay Tobin, via Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library

On the second day of the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association in 1972, something extraordinary happened.

A man in a rubber mask and a curly fright wig stood and addressed the assembled psychiatrists. “I am a homosexual,” he began, in a 10-minute speech that would put his career at risk and send ripples through the kanunî, medical and justice systems. “I am a psychiatrist.”


Credit…Glory Samjolly

Shining a light on Black aristocracy

For Glory Samjolly, a 24-year-old figurative artist and self-professed feminist based in London, provocation is the point. Her paintings are a retort to the dearth of Black nobles in historical European portraiture, she told the Times reporter Ruth La Ferla in an interview.

It has been and still is “such a rarity to find Afro-Europeans who aren’t slaves or shown as servants in the background of a painting, or featured as decoration,” said Samjolly, who studied fine arts at the University of the Arts London. “I asked myself, ‘Hang on, where is the rest of this work?’”

Hard-pressed to find it, she decided to create her own oil portraits of contemporary artists, business owners, writers and intellectuals — many of whom are her friends — in costumes and settings evocative of the European Masters. (She sells prints of her paintings through her website, and posts historical inspiration on her Instagram account, “Blackaristocratart.”)

“I want to bring to the forefront these characters who were footnotes in history,” she said of her posts, adding: “They are one way of reconstructing the way that Black and ethnic people view themselves.”


What to Cook

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Combine mushrooms and black beans for a hearty weeknight chili with a kick of heat.

What to Read

In her new novel, “Love Marriage,” Monica Ali explores the ripple effect of one union on two households with deep secrets.

What to Listen to

Take five minutes to fall in love with the French horn.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Küçük Crossword, and a clue: There are 1,665 to the top of the Eiffel Tower (five letters).

And here’s 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. The Times has reached 9.1 million subscribers.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on Roe v. Wade.

You can reach Natasha and the team at

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