A US satellite imaging company, Maxar, on Monday spotted a massive Russian military convoy stretching some 60 kilometres north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
It reported that the column covered the entire stretch of road from near Antonov airport, some 28 kilometres from the capital, to the town of Prybirsk – a distance of approximately 60 kilometres.
Maxar also 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 30 kilometres north of the border with Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces have put up strong and effective resistance along the roads leading into central Kyiv, the capital city, since Since the start of the Russian offensive on Thursday.
According to two sources interviewed by French news agency AFP on Monday, one diplomatic and the other a security official, Moscow is preparing to launch a new military push soon.
According to a post on the Facebook page of the Ukrainian Army General Staff, the Russian forces were massing over the past 24 hours and accumulating armored vehicles and artillery weapons “primarily to encircle and take control of Kyiv and other major cities of Ukraine”.
Washington says the main Russian effort remains an advance on Kyiv but that had “slowed down” on the fifth day of the invasion.
On Monday, the main Russian column advancing towards the Ukrainian capital had advanced about three miles and was some 28 kilometres from the city, a senior US defense official said.