As the war in Ukraine entered its sixth day, satellite images show a huge Russian convoy moving towards Kyiv. In another development, a missile has destroyed the municipal hall of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
Satellite images taken on Monday show a Russian military convoy north of Kyiv that stretches for about 40 miles (64km) in an area northwest of Kyiv. It is substantially longer than the 17 miles (27km) reported earlier in the day, according to the US company Maxar.
Maxar, which filed a series of satellite images on the Russian military buildup on the Ukraine border, also said additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units were seen in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles (32km) north of the Ukraine border.
The new images come as US officials told lawmakers in classified briefings Monday that a second wave of Russian troops will likely consolidate the country’s positions within Ukraine, and by sheer numbers could be able to overcome the Ukrainian resistance, according to two people familiar with the briefings, CNN reports.
“That part was disheartening,” one lawmaker told CNN.
US officials told the briefing Monday that Russia would likely lay siege to Kyiv, leading to ugly scenes of urban warfare, one of the people familiar with the matter said according to CNN.
War in Ukraine: Massive explosion in Kharkiv
Early on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister tweeted a video of a massive explosion in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing war crimes. He is calling on the world to fully isolate Russia and increase the pressure on it.
Barbaric Russian missile strikes on the central Freedom Square and residential districts of Kharkiv. Putin is unable to break Ukraine down. He commits more war crimes out of fury, murders innocent civilians. The world can and must do more. INCREASE PRESSURE, ISOLATE RUSSIA FULLY! pic.twitter.com/tN4VHF1A9n
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 1, 2022
The regional head of the Kharkiv area has alleged that Vladimir Putin’s forces have been targeting residential areas with Grad missiles — a truck-mounted artillery system capable of firing dozens of rockets simultaneously.
Oleh Synehubov wrote on the social media outlet Telegram that Russian troops have fired on the “square in front of the regional state administration office” and said that officials are “now estimating casualties among the civilian population.”
🇺🇦Kharkiv central square now.
“Whoever rallied for the Russian World on this square – is this what you wanted? We warned you, it’s a bad idea” pic.twitter.com/qJQlBFTNPy
— Illia Ponomarenko (@IAPonomarenko) March 1, 2022
“Our enemy has no other option but to commit treacherous war crimes like this because our army is strong and we are holding our defenses”, Synehubov said.
Under the Geneva Convention, which Russia has ratified, the deliberate targeting of civilians during an armed conflict is considered a war crime.