(Washington) Satellite images taken Monday in Ukraine show a huge Russian military convoy stretching more than 60 kilometers northwest of the capital Kiev, a key military objective for Russia in its offensive in Ukraine.
The convoy “extends from the surroundings of the Antonov airport [à environ 25 km du centre de Kiev] in the south around Prybirsk” in the north, the American satellite imagery company Maxar said in an email on Monday evening.
This airport is, since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, the scene of violent clashes, the army of Vladimir Putin trying to seize this strategic infrastructure for the capture of the capital.
In the convoy captured by satellite image, about 64 kilometers 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 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces have so far managed to prevent access to the center of Kiev to Russian forces, whose advance remains “slowed down” 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 armored vehicles and artillery weapons “primarily to encircle and take control of Kiev and the other big 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 kilometers” on Monday and was “some 25 km” from the city, a senior US defense official had estimated earlier in the day.