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Ukraine conflict: Huge Russian convoy advances on Kyiv as Putin accused of war crimes

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massive convoy of Russian military armour stretching for 40 miles is advancing on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, satellite images showed on Tuesday.

The military convoy, photographed on the sixth day of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, is much bigger than initially thought. It comes as more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian artillery hit a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, according to a post by the head of the region Dmytro Zhyvytsky on Telegram.

And explosions and gunfire were heard in embattled cities in eastern Ukraine as Russia’s invasion met unexpectedly stiff resistance.

Ukrainian officials reported heavy fighting on several fronts and said a Russian bombardment of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, had killed dozens, following the apparent use of cluster bombs.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he plans to open an investigation “as rapidly as possible” into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Kyiv residents and volunteers prepare to defend their city from Russian forces

/ AFP via Getty Images

On the border with Belarus, a Ukrainian delegation held talks with Russian officials on Monday, though they ended with no agreements except to keep talking. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with Mr Putin, urging him to halt the offensive.

Meanwhile, Western sanctions triggered by the invasion sent the Russian rouble plummeting, leading ordinary Russians to line up at banks and ATMs. And Russian teams were suspended from all international soccer matches, including qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, pushing the country toward sports pariah status.

Kyiv’s outgunned but determined troops slowed Russia’s advance and held onto the capital and other key cities – at least for the time being.

US officials say they believe the invasion has been more difficult than the Kremlin envisioned, though that could change as Moscow adapts. Russia still lacked control of Ukrainian airspace.

As talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations wrapped up near the Belarusian border, several blasts could be heard in Kyiv itself.

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