New Delhi: On the sixth day of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine Tuesday, a 64-km-long Russian convoy was assumed to be heading towards Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. US-based satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies captured the images.
The length of the convoy was so large that it could not be entirely captured by the satellites. In some areas, the convoy was nearly two to three rows deep.
A Russian convoy north of Kyiv is now stretched out over at least 17 miles.
The line of vehicles is so extensive that it was not entirely captured in satellite imagery.
By @ckoettl https://t.co/DybHF8EVA2 pic.twitter.com/a0L0W2X17N
— Cliff Levy (@cliffordlevy) February 28, 2022
Further updates showed that the convoy had reached Antonov Airport, a cargo facility, located in the North-West suburbs of Kyiv. The image also showed houses burning along the route of the convoy.
Convoy update based on analysis of additional imagery provided by @maxar: Troops are at Antonov Airport, meaning military vehicles & equipment are stretched out along 40 miles of road. Important: this image shows homes on fire along the route https://t.co/ypUM31PmId pic.twitter.com/IZWzv4akju
— Christoph Koettl (@ckoettl) March 1, 2022
Reports suggest that the convoy is made up of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and other vehicles.
Some reports also noted that the convoy’s origins can be traced to Belarus. The former Soviet state, which lies to the northwest of Kyiv, can be argued to be where the convoy took off from. All major routes in the northwest of Kyiv end in Belarus.
Russia placed multiple troops, military vehicles, and helicopters in Belarus prior to the invasion, under the pretext of joint exercises by the two countries. However, as the exercises ended, the troops, vehicles and helicopters stayed behind, according to reports.
Russia then built a pontoon bridge across the Pripyat River, crossing the Chernobyl exclusion zone, into Ukraine from Belarus. The day invasions began, and further images depicted that Russia began moving troops and vehicles across that bridge into Ukraine.
Looking at the scale of troops, armoured vehicles, tanks and towed artillery, as part of the convoy and the route which it is following — Belarus’s acquiescence or clandestine support could look implicit.
However, there is still ambiguity whether the convoy is headed towards the centre of Kyiv or to assist and join Russian troops deployed elsewhere in Ukraine. The convoy, however, was judged to be 25-kilometre-long from Kyiv.
As talks between Russia and Ukraine stalled on the first day, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating that there “can be fair negotiations if one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the time of negotiations”, stakes could rest on the fate of this Russian convoy and where it goes from here.