New Delhi: As Russia proceeds ahead with military assault on Ukraine, a huge Russian military convoy stretching some 40 miles was spotted 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.
Kyiv’s outgunned but determined troops slowed Russia’s advance and held onto the capital and other key cities _ at least for the time being.
US officials say they believe the invasion has been more difficult than the Kremlin envisioned, though that could change as Moscow adapts. Russia still lacked control of Ukrainian airspace.
As talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations wrapped up near the Belarusian border, several blasts could be heard in Kyiv itself.
Russian troops have been advancing slowly on the capital city of nearly 3 million people.
Ukrainian and Russian delegations met Monday on Ukraine’s border with Belarus. The meeting ended with no immediate reports of agreements, but Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said further talks could take place “in the near future.”
Before the meeting, Zelenskyy’s office said Ukraine would demand an immediate cease-fire.
While Ukraine sent its defense minister and other top officials, the Russian delegation was led by Putin’s cultural adviser _ Vladimir Medinsky _ an unlikely envoy for ending the war and a sign of how Moscow viewed the talks.
Medinsky said the sides “found certain points on which common positions could be foreseen.” He also said the talks would continue in the coming days on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Western officials believe Putin wants to overthrow Ukraine’s government and replace it with a compliant regime, reviving Moscow’s Cold War-era influence. His comments have raised fears that the invasion of Ukraine could lead to nuclear war, whether by design or mistake.
On Monday afternoon, Macron spoke by phone with Putin for 90 minutes, according to the French presidency. It said Putin expressed his “will to commit” to stopping all strikes against civilians and residential areas and to preserving civilian facilities. Macron asked him to end the military offensive in Ukraine and reaffirmed the need for an “immediate cease-fire.”