A huge Russian military convoy stretching some 40 miles was spotted Monday by a US satellite imaging company just north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which has already repulsed several assaults.
Satellite photos provided by Maxar, a US company, showed that the convoy — which had been massing since Sunday — had mushroomed to more than 40 miles of military vehicles.
It said the column covered the entire stretch of road from near Antonov airport, some 18 miles from the capital, to the town of Prybirsk – a distance of approximately 40 miles.
Maxar said that “along parts of the route, some vehicles are spaced fairly far apart while in other sections military equipment and units are traveling two or three vehicles abreast on the road.”
“A number of homes and buildings are seen burning north and northwest of Ivankiv, near the roads where the convoy is traveling,” it added.
Maxar said its satellites had also captured images of “additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units” in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles north of the border with Ukraine.
Since the start of the Russian offensive on Thursday, Ukrainian forces have defended the roads leading into central Kyiv against assaults by Russian forces that are massing around the capital.
According to two sources interviewed by AFP on Monday, one diplomatic and the other a security official, Moscow is preparing to launch a new military push imminently.
The Ukrainian Army General Staff official page on Facebook said that Russian forces were massing over the past 24 hours and accumulating armored vehicles and artillery weapons “primarily to encircle and take control of Kyiv and other major cities of Ukraine.”
Washington says the main Russian effort remains an advance on Kyiv but that had “slowed down” on the fifth day of the invasion.
On Monday, the main Russian column advancing toward the Ukrainian capital had advanced about three miles and was some 18 miles from the city, a senior US defense official said.
It has been the position of Ukraine leadership that the loss of Kyiv, the capital, to Moscow would be a devastating blow.
“We cannot lose the capital,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late last week, amid fears of an overnight siege.