Days later, they’re still waiting.
On Thursday, the UK’s defense ministry said the convoy appears to have stalled some 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside Kyiv and has made “little discernible progress” over the past three days, citing intelligence.
“The main body of the large Russian column advancing on Kyiv remains over 30 km from the center of the city, having been delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion. The column has made little discernible progress in over three days,” the UK statement said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday night that while the convoy and Russia’s broader push towards Kyiv “remains stalled,” there was a significant concern “that maybe the window is closing to be able to get aid into cities that may become under siege.”
A senior US defense official told reporters on that although the convoy is suffering shortages of fuel and food, the US has assessed that the Russians “will again learn from these missteps and these stumbles and will try to overcome them.”
The convoy’s stalled progress could create multiple strategic problems for Russia.
First, as the key Russian supply line for any major assault on Kyiv, it is a very large sitting target for Ukrainian forces fighting back against the invasion.
Second, sitting in a 40-mile-long traffic jam for days at a time could take its toll on the morale and discipline of Russian soldiers ahead of a major military operation.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Wednesday night that the fierce Ukrainian resistance had dented Russian morale.
“More and more occupiers are fleeing back to Russia, from us, from you … we are a nation that broke the enemy’s plans in a week — plans those have been built for years,” he said in a Facebook post.
The latest assessments on the convoy comes after the Russian military issued its first casualty figures from the war, saying 498 of its troops had died and another 1,597 had been injured. The UK statement on Thursday said “the actual number of those killed and wounded will almost certainly be considerably higher and continue to rise.”
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov expressed “great sorrow” over Russian military casualties on Thursday morning.