Russia continues with its troop movements with the aim of striking the final blow in Donbas. New satellite images captured by the Maxar company have recorded a Russian convoy about 12 kilometers long that has crossed the border and is heading to Kharkov, the main city in the east of the country.
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The photos show a row of hundreds of “armored, trucks towing artillery and support teams,” according to Maxar. The images, dated April 8, show the convoy passing through the town of Velkyi Burluk towards Kharkov.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the week will be “tense” in the east of the country because “Russian troops will move there to continue their operations” and the Ukrainian government believes that Russia is preparing for the final offensive.
According to the head of Ukrainian intelligence, Speaking to CNN, Russian troops have regrouped at the border to advance towards Kharkov. Ukraine believes that the Russian Army intends to break the Ukrainian defensive lines with an encircling maneuver by deploying its troops and attacks from the Kharkov region to the north, the port city of Mariupol to the south and the Lugansk region to the east of Donbas.
In addition, the Russian artillery continues to attack the city of Severodonetsk, in Lugansk, key in the Russian advance towards Kramatorsk and where the “vital infrastructure” has been almost completely destroyed. The Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian General Staff say in a statement that they see “it is likely that the enemy will continue to attack transport infrastructure facilities, such as the attacked station in Kramatorsk, in order to destroy or disable them” and thus “interrupt the supply of goods. ” in the places of combat.
On April 8, two Russian missiles hit the Kramatorsk train station in the Donbas region, causing at least 57 deaths and 109 injuries among the almost 4,000 civilians who had gathered there to flee the area.
To prevent a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russian aviation bombed the Dnipro airport again this Sunday, which has been totally destroyed, as well as the surrounding infrastructure, according to the authorities.
When the invasion of Ukraine began, a 40-mile convoy was formed outside kyiv made up of tanks, armored vehicles and supply trucks. However, it ended up stuck and besieged by the Ukrainian resistance and with fuel supply and provisioning problems. Finally this convoy ended up dispersing when Russia announced its change in military strategy and that they were leaving kyiv to focus on the conquest of Donbas.
Change in the military leadership and fear of more massacres of civilians
Ukraine has been urging civilians for days to leave the region “while the opportunity exists.” “It has to be done now, because later people will be under fire and face the threat of death. They won’t be able to do anything about it. (…) It is necessary to evacuate while this possibility exists. For now, it still exists,” said Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukrainian deputy prime minister.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has reorganized its military leadership and has put a new general in command of the war. This is Alexandr Dvórnikov, the commander who was in charge of the brutal offensive in Syria in 2015.
The United States believes that with the appointment of a new general, more “atrocities” and acts of “brutality” against Ukrainian civilians are to come.
“This general, in particular, has a history that includes brutality against civilians in other settings, in Syria, and we can expect more of the same in this setting,” said Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to US President Joe Biden.