According to satellite photos, a vast convoy of Russian ground soldiers is making its way closer to Kyiv, coming within 20 kilometers of the Ukrainian capital’s center on Monday.
According to Maxar Technologies, a U.S. corporation that obtained the photographs Monday morning local time, the line of Russian military vehicles ran for around 40 kilometers along the road, significantly longer than earlier estimates. According to Maxar, the convoy comprises armored vehicles, tanks, and towed artillery, and it looks to be moving steadily over the war-torn roads leading to Kyiv.
Maxar posted photographs on Sunday of the same group of Russian servicemen around 40 kilometers from the capital. The company’s experts assessed the convoy to be roughly three miles long at the time, but amended their estimate considerably upward one day later, citing cloud cover as a factor in their initial estimates.
The convoy makes a threatening figure through the countryside near Kyiv, but Ukrainian forces remained defiant on Monday after enduring the most intensive bombardment since the invasion began in Kharkiv, in the east.
The photographs come amid speculation that Russian soldiers may encircle Kyiv, shut off supplies and escape routes, and eventually move in.
A senior US defense source told The Washington Post on Monday that Russia is seeking to encircle Kyiv, and that Moscow has utilized siege tactics elsewhere in Ukraine, particularly in the northern city of Chernihiv and the northeastern city of Kharkiv. To discuss sensitive intelligence, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The likelihood of such an attack on the almost 3 million-strong capital metropolis adds to fears that the death toll may rise dramatically in the coming days. According to two persons who attended the meeting, Ukraine has sustained 1,500 civilian and military deaths, according to senior Biden administration officials. It wasn’t clear whether the tally comprised simply fatalities or also injuries. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind. ), who was born and reared in Ukraine, stated, “It’s likely going to be a substantial loss of life.”
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Still, there are concerns about what would happen if Russia takes control of the country.“In the long run,” Spartz said, “Ukrainians are not going to surrender. Ukrainians are just not going to submit.”
Vehicles appear to be spaced many yards apart at times in the convoy; at other times, they appear to be moving two or three abreast. Burning structures may be seen along the road outside of Ivankiv, a hamlet northwest of Kyiv, in several photographs.
Maxar said that further photographs acquired from the sky above southern Belarus reveal more ground forces and assault helicopter units. All of them were discovered fewer than 20 miles from Belarus’s Ukrainian border.
Russia is said to have massed around 150,000 troops surrounding Ukraine ahead of its invasion, with the bulk of them now believed to be committed to the conflict.