New satellite images show that Russian troops have withdrawn from Antonov Airport in Hostomel, 18 miles (about 29 kilometers) northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
The images, taken Thursday by Maxar Technologies, corroborate earlier information from an official at the United States Department of Defense who told DailyExpertNews they believed the Russian military had likely left the airport.
Previous satellite images showed that after weeks of digging at the airport, the Russians had built protective earthen berms around military vehicles and artillery emplacements. Now only the verges remain.
First Russian victory: The capture of the Antonov airfield was the first major victory of the Russians on the first day of the war – February 24. A number of transport and attack helicopters ambushed the base and the Ukrainian soldiers stationed there; DailyExpertNews witnessed some of the intense gunfight at the base.
Since then, Ukrainian forces held back strongly against the Russian advance; they never got closer to the west of Kiev. Fierce firefights took place along the Irpin River and the towns of Irpin and Bucha, just south of the air base and Hostomel.
The Russian Defense Ministry released a number of videos praising the ease with which they claimed to have taken the air base. Russian state media echoed those claims, even traveling with troops around the airport as proof of how safe the area was.
Now the shutdown is another example of Russia’s declining military success around the Ukrainian capital.
Russian repositioning: At the moment it is unclear where the army and artillery vehicles have gone. Russia has previously claimed it would reduce its military activities around Kiev. All the forces and vehicles deployed west of Kiev came from Belarus.
The Russians are not saying whether they have returned to Belarus, and thick clouds are currently preventing satellite images from tracking Russian troop movements in the area.