Russian military convoy repositioning near Kyiv - Maxar

Satellite images showed Russian forces threatening Kyiv from the north had dispersed to new positions, private U.S. company Maxar Technologies MAXR.N said, possibly in preparation for an assault on the capital

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Satellite images taken on Thursday show a large Russian military convoy, last seen northwest of Kyiv near Antonov airport, has largely dispersed and redeployed, a private U.S. company said on Thursday.

Images provided by Maxar showed armoured units manoeuvring in and through towns close to Antonov airport northwest of Kyiv, while other elements further north had repositioned near Lubyanka with towed artillery howitzers in firing positions.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the images but the Ukrainian armed forces' general staff said late on Thursday Russian forces had regrouped after heavy losses, without specifying which elements they were referring to.

After three weeks of war, Russia has failed to reach its stated objectives of disarming the Ukrainian military and ousting the democratically elected government, but it has caused thousands of deaths and forced more than 2 million people to flee the country, where several cities are under siege.

Putin on Thursday acknowledged there had been "problems and difficulties" in Ukraine but said Russia would emerge stronger from the war.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the operation was going to plan, after holding talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Turkey on Thursday, the highest-level meeting since Putin ordered the invasion on Feb. 24.

Media in Russia are barred from reporting anything other than the Kremlin's line on events in Ukraine, including allegations this week that the United States is secretly developing biological weapons there.

The United Nations Security Council will convene on Friday at Russia's request, diplomats said, to discuss Moscow's allegations, which Washington has described as disinformation.