A massive convoy of hundreds of Russian military vehicles was spotted on Sunday in satellite images that showed the vehicles moving toward the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv.
“A long convoy is stretched out over more than three miles of road, consisting of hundreds of vehicles according to Maxar Technologies, which released the images,” The New York Times reported. “The forces include infantry fighting and supply vehicles around 40 miles northwest of Kyiv.”
NEW: Russian is sending a convoy hundreds of military vehicles in the direction of Kyiv, ~40 miles away.
The 3-mile convoy has tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery & logistics units. US defense official said that Russia had significant logistical troubles
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) February 27, 2022
Russia launched a three-pronged attack into Ukraine, “toward Kyiv, the capital, from the north; toward Kharkiv, from the northeast; and fanning out from Crimea in the south,” the Times added.
The fighting has led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, and more than 300,000 Ukrainians have now fled to the European Union. The E.U. anticipates that it could see up to four million Ukrainian refugees.
Ukraine's Ministry of Interior: the number of known people killed in Ukraine following the Russian invasion is 352 civilians, at least 14 of them children. Another 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been injured.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 27, 2022
The Times noted that Russian forces have started using siege tactics on at least one city, Chernihiv, which U.S. officials said increases the likelihood of civilian deaths and damage to non-military infrastructure. Russia has so far been unable to gain complete control of Ukraine’s airspace.
Russian President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert on Sunday which Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington D.C. nonprofit Arms Control Association, said was “unprecedented in the post-Cold War era.”
“There has been no instance in which a U.S. or a Russian leader has raised the alert level of their nuclear forces in a middle of a crisis in order to try to coerce the other side’s behavior,” Kimball continued.
“I think we need to understand that the risk of miscalculation and escalation is high,” Kimball said. “I don’t think we should look at this as a threat by Putin to use nuclear weapons against the United States, against Europe, against NATO. This is a dangerous moment in the crisis. It’s a point in which both sides needs to back down and move the word ‘nuclear’ from this equation.”
A senior U.S. official told CNN on Sunday that Putin’s move was “yet another escalatory and totally unnecessary step.”
“At every step of this conflict Putin has manufactured threats to justify more aggressive actions — he was never under threat from Ukraine or from NATO, which is a defensive alliance that will not fight in Ukraine,” the official said. “The only reason his forces face a threat today is because they invaded a sovereign country, and one without nuclear weapons. This is yet another escalatory and totally unnecessary step.”
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This report has been updated to include additional information.