KYIV, Ukraine — As a convoy of Russian tanks, armored vehicle and other weaponry and troops stretching nearly 40 miles long neared the capital on Tuesday, Ukrainians were bracing for an all- out Russian assault on their capital.
Long lines of cars snaked outside gas stations. Residents scoured the city for grocery stores and bread to stock up on food for what could be days or even weeks of being trapped inside homes should an all-out urban war start — much like what is unfolding in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city.
Ukrainian forces, both the regular army and a civilian volunteer force called the Territorial Defense unit, patrolled the streets and took positions on strategic bridges, roads and highways. Several key highways and roads used to enter the city, particularly from the north, were being fortified with heavy weaponry, antitank rockets, artillery and heavy machine guns. Fighters were building trenches and placing barricades made of tires.
On Monday evening, Ukrainian armored personal carriers moved through one fortified patch of highway while convoy of trucks was moving from the city’s center toward the northern area, their beds carrying several armored vehicles.
The Russian convoy, according to satellite imagery from Mazar Technologies released on Monday, was around 17 miles north of Kyiv’s center, and appeared to be edging toward the Antonov military airport in the town of Hostomel, which Russian forces now control.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday said the Territorial Defense units in the Obolon district in the capital’s north had captured 30 “saboteurs” or Russian infiltrators, who the Ukrainian government say have been deployed by Moscow to sow chaos and mayhem in the city. The report could not be independently confirmed.
On Monday night, there appeared to be less bombing than previous days, though air raid sirens went off several times on Monday and at least once Tuesday morning. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the capital was hit by three missile strikes on Monday.