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Satellite images show eight-mile-long Russian convoy in eastern Ukraine

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Satellite images show eight-mile-long Russian convoy in eastern Ukraine
A handout satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows a convoy of armored military vehicles and trucks that extends for at least eight miles moving south through the Ukrainian town of Velykyi Burluk on Friday. Photo courtesy Maxar Technologies/EPA-EFE

April 10 (UPI) -- New satellite images show an 8-mile-long convoy of military vehicles moving south through the town of Velkyi Burluk in eastern Ukraine.

The town of Velkyi Burluk sits about 15 miles west of the Russian border in the Kharkiv region not far from Ukraine's second-largest city which has seen significant fighting since the start of the invasion.

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Russian forces reportedly launched about 50 strikes on the Kharkiv region on Friday using artillery systems, mortars, tanks and multiple rocket launcher systems.

The New York Times noted that the convoy appeared to be moving toward the city of Izium, a city about 60 miles south from Velkyi Burluk.

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Russian forces seized control of Izium last week as the invaders have reconcentrated their efforts in the Donbas region of Ukraine after failed attempts at seizing the nation's capital, Kyiv, in northern Ukraine.

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The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Sunday that Russia appeared to be bolstering its troops in Izium to move toward the town of Slobozhansky as the "Russian enemy continues to partially blockade the city of Kharkiv."

Russia could also be massing the troops in Izium before conducting a strike on Sloviansk as Moscow tries to gain control of the Donbas region in an apparent bid to separate it from Ukraine.

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Izium is located just 30 miles northwest of Sloviansk, a key city in the Donetsk oblast of Ukraine. Donetsk is one of the two oblasts, or administrative divisions in Ukraine, that make up the larger Donbas region.

The Donbas region has largely been held by pro-Russian separatists since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized Luhansk and Donetsk as independent republics on Feb. 21, the day he ordered "peacekeeping" troops to invade the two Ukrainian provinces.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that Russia "is trying to break through" Ukrainian defenses around Izium to "establish full control over the city of Mariupol" -- which is further south in the Donetsk oblast on the Sea of Azov.

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"Also, Russian occupiers make attempts to improve tactical position of the divisions in the Mykolaiv direction," the statement reads.

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"In the Donetsk and Tavriya operational districts, the enemy is carrying out artillery and mortar shelling in most areas. Carries out assault operations in the city of Mariupol, airstrikes, tries to capture the central part of the city."

Valentin Reznichenko, the regional governor of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast in central Ukraine, said in a statement to Telegram that Russian shelling has destroyed the Dnipro airport.

"The airport itself and the infrastructure nearby were destroyed. And rockets fly and fly," he said, adding that it was not yet known how many victims there were from the attack.

Lesia Vasylenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, said in a statement that the strike destroyed "everything around the airport."

"Such a shame, as the airport was completely renovated just last year," she said. "All the investments and all the efforts completely wrecked."

The death toll in the Kramatorsk train station strike rose by five to 57, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration said Sunday. Also there are 109 injured.

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