Satellite images, captured on Monday, have shown an impressive Russian military convoy stretching more than 60 kilometres and closing in on Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
According to the report by AFP, the Russian military convoy “extends from the area around Antonov airport (about 25 km from the centre of Kiev) in the south to around Prybirsk” in the north, the American satellite imagery company Maxar said in an email on Monday evening.
The airport as being reported by AFP has been the target of Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. It has also been the scene of violent clashes, as Vladimir Putin try to seize this strategic infrastructure to advance into the capital.
In the Russian military convoy captured by satellite image, about 64 kilometres long, “some vehicles are sometimes very distant from each other and, on other portions, military equipment is positioned two or three abreast”, Maxar added.
Images of the convoy show several dozen vehicles lined up one behind the other on roads in the Ukrainian countryside, with occasional smoke nearby, traces of building fires according to the company.
The American company also released images showing new deployments of troops – attack helicopters and ground vehicles – in Belarus, less than thirty kilometres from the border with Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces have so far managed to prevent access to the centre of Kiev to Russian forces, whose advance remains “slowed” on the fifth day of the invasion and which gather around the capital.
Ukraine’s army headquarters said on Facebook on Tuesday that Russian forces had regrouped over the past 24 hours, accumulating armoured vehicles and artillery weapons “primarily to encircle and take control of Kiev and the other major cities of Ukraine”.
According to two sources interviewed by AFP on Monday, one diplomatic and the other security, Moscow is preparing to launch a new military push imminently. The main Russian column advancing towards the Ukrainian capital “advanced about five kilometres” on Monday and was “some 25 km” from the city, a senior US defence official had estimated earlier in the day.