Huge Russian Military Convoy Approaches Kyiv, Talks Go Nowhere – The Russian military is stepping up its indiscriminating artillery and missile strikes on civilian areas and they are pushing fresh troops in a 40-mile long convoy in the attempt to take the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Satellite photos from Maxar Technologies showed the massive Russian column of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and logistical supplies that began 18 miles from central Kyiv.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces released a statement that despite being bogged down around Kyiv, the Russians are regrouping and bringing in a massive amount of fresh troops in the past day “primarily to encircle and take control of Kyiv and other major cities.”
“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,” Maxar said.
The images also showed “additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units” in southern Belarus near the Ukraine border.
Russian Military Shelling Civilian Areas:
As the Russians try to increase their gains in large major metropolitan areas of Ukraine, they are increasing the shelling to civilian areas. The Russians have been trying to take Mariupol in the south and have taken to indiscriminate shelling, bombing, and missile strikes.
Vadym Boichenko, the mayor of Mariupol was interviewed on live Ukrainian television and spoke about the carnage that is ongoing. “We have had residential quarters shelled for five days. They are pounding us with artillery, they are shelling us with GRADS, they are hitting us with air forces,” he said.
“We have civilian infrastructure damaged – schools, houses. There are many injured. There are women, children killed.”
In Kharkiv, a missile strike that targeted a large government building was shown on video where a large firebomb engulfed the structure and civilian vehicles that were driving in the area. The missile strike came shortly after the curfew was lifted at approximately 8 a.m. when casualties would be higher.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy characterized the attack on Kharkiv’s main square as “frank, undisguised terror,” stating that a Russian missile hit the area and calling it a war crime. “Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget. … This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation.”
The day before in Kharkiv, a massive artillery bombardment killed nine civilians including a family of five who were killed while trying to drive in their car. Meanwhile, at a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, 70 Ukrainian troops were killed in a large strike on the base that left it in ruins.
Talks in Belarus Between Russia and Ukraine Go Nowhere
Despite little hope that progress would be forthcoming, delegates from Russia and Ukraine met in Belarus. After several hours the talks were completed and there were no announcements on any progress.
Immediately after the end of the meeting, Russian forces hit Kharkiv with a massive artillery barrage that targeted civilian areas. President Zelensky said that the Russians intensified the bombing and shelling of civilians during the meeting to push the Ukrainian delegation into concessions.
Zelensky said that “the talks were taking place against the backdrop of bombing and shelling of our territory, our cities. Synchronizing of the shelling with the negotiating process was obvious. I believe Russia is trying to put pressure on Ukraine with this simple method”.
One of the Russian demands centers on the fact that they insist that the West build no military bases in former Soviet Union territory and that they remove all nuclear missiles from the same countries. The US and NATO have denied placing or have any intention of placing nuclear missiles in those countries.
US Expels 12 Russian Diplomats From the UN For Espionage:
The United States has asked 12 Russian diplomats assigned to their United Nations mission to leave the US, accusing them of “espionage activities.”
Olivia Dalton, a spokesperson for the United States Mission said that “The United States has informed the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations that we are beginning the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”
“We are taking this action in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months,” she added.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia responded by saying the US’ explanation of the expulsions was “not satisfactory.”
“I’ve just received information that the US authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian Mission to the United Nations grossly violating their commitments on the host country agreement that they undertook,” Nebenzia told reporters. “They just visited the Russian Mission and gave us a note prescribing us to do what they demand.”
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.