New satellite images show the massive Russian military convoy that has been stalled outside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv for over a week has now redeployed, with artillery — including probable rocket launchers — moving into firing positions.
The photos, which were taken Thursday and provided to Global News by American space technology company Maxar, also show the heavy damage the Kyiv region has already suffered as forces move closer to the prime target of the invasion.
The Russian convoy, which was estimated to be nearly 65 kilometres (40 miles) long over a week ago, has advanced as far as the Antonov airport in Hostomel, northwest of Kyiv.
But Western intelligence said the convoy has been stuck in the same position ever since due to fuel and food shortages, allowing Ukrainian resistance fighters to destroy vehicles and troops.
Now, Maxar’s latest images show that while parts of the convoy remain stretched along the highway on the capital’s outskirts, some vehicles have repositioned themselves in the trees and nearby fields. Resupply vehicles were also seen.
The photos show artillery vehicles, including probable rocket launchers, in firing positions about 40 kilometres northwest of the capital.
Moscow is intent on capturing Kyiv and other major cities, with the ultimate goal of toppling Ukraine’s democratic government.
But three weeks into the invasion, the Russian military has not gained any significant ground. Heavily besieged cities are continuing to resist occupation, despite constant shelling and the deaths of potentially hundreds of civilians.
While cities across the country — including Mariupol, where a children’s hospital and maternity ward were bombed on Wednesday — have seen destruction, some of the worst attacks have been seen in areas around Kyiv.
The photos show a large line of people and vehicles trying to escape the nearby town of Irpin — which has been almost completely destroyed by Russian shelling — only to be stopped by a damaged bridge that connects the road to Kyiv.
Irpin was one of several cities where officials were looking to evacuate citizens through humanitarian corridors over the past few days. Thousands have been able to evacuate from Irpin and other cities, despite continued shelling that have broken the temporary ceasefires.
The images also show heavily-damaged residential high-rise buildings in Borodyanka, northwest of Kyiv, and destroyed warehouse buildings in Stoyanka, in the western Kyiv region.
Thick black smoke could also be seen rising from fuel tanks on fire at the Antonov airport, which continues to be a site of intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
Military equipment could also be seen in the images.
In the northern city of Chernihiv, about 50 kilometres east of the Belarusian border, Maxar also captured images of a large shopping mall before and after it was destroyed in an alleged Russian attack.
Photos also showed fires burning in an industrial area in the city’s south.
As of Thursday, potential peace talks between Ukraine and Russia have yet to yield any progress, with the country’s foreign ministers failing to agree to any terms at their first sit-down in Turkey.
Over two million people are believed to have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries, creating the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.
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