Russia: 40 mile military convoy travels to Kyiv
The 40-mile convoy of tanks and armoured vehicles identified north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Sunday quickly put the war-torn nation on high alert. However, soon after satellite images of the military vehicles emerged, they came to a near standstill. At the time of writing, advances were slow.
What at the end of last looked like an imminent attempt to close Russia’s military encirclement of Kyiv became the subject of speculation for analysts.
The convoy, which was at first thought to be 17 miles long, goes accompanied by 15,000 troops, the images by Maxar Technologies show.
On Wednesday, Moscow told residents in the capital who lived close to intended targets to abandon their homes.
Without providing further information, the Kremlin’s warning was received as a threat.
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Russia’s 40-mile military convoy has encountered barriers on its way to Kyiv, the MoD said
As per predictions of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the resistance with which Russian forces were met by Ukrainian servicemen had led Vladimir Putin into a dead-end, which made room for brutal action.
Mr Johnson said: “I think that he’s gone into a cul de sac and it’s very difficult for him to back out, and that’s the problem we’ve got.
“And if you’re sitting where he is, his only instinct is going to be to double down and to try and ‘Grozny-fy’ Kyiv, if you know what I mean. And to reduce it to [rubble], and I think that that would be an unalterable moral humanitarian catastrophe and I hope he doesn’t do that.”
“Grozny-fying Kyiv” is a nod to the capital of Chechnya that was battered by Russian forces two decades ago.
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With the front end of the convoy less than 20 miles from the capital, the question is how and when Moscow plans to attack.
The UK’s Defence Ministry said in the early morning of Thursday the “large Russian column” had been “delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion”.
They added: “The column has made little progress in three days”.
The intelligence update confirmed the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol, which had been under attack on Wednesday, “remain in Ukrainian hands”.
It claimed: “Some Russian forces have entered the city of Kherson but the military situation remains unclear.”
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On Wednesday, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov confirmed in televised remarks the Russian army claimed it had taken control of Kherson, a strategically important city in the south of Ukraine.
But Kherson’s Mayor Igor Nikolayev contradicted his words, saying: “We are still Ukraine. Still firm.”
As Putin’s invasion of Ukraine enters its eighth day, the UK Defence Ministry concluded: “The Russian defence ministry has been forced to admit that 498 Russian soldiers have already been killed and 1,597 wounded in Putin’s war.
“The actual number of those killed and wounded will almost certainly be considerably higher and continue to rise.”
The statement came a day after Russian airstrikes hit near Babyn Yar, a Holocaust memorial in the capital that commemorates the murder of Jews by the Nazis in World War Two.
While there was no evidence the site was deliberately targeted, the bombing sparked widespread condemnation and shed light on the ridiculousness of Putin’s claim he launched the war to “denazify” Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in a tweet: “To the world: what is the point of saying ‘never again’ for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babi Yar.”
Earlier that day, Moscow targeted Kyiv’s 1,200-foot-high TV tower in a blast that took the lives of five people.
According to Russia’s Konashenkov, they did so “in order to suppress information attacks on Russia”.