Satellite images show large Russian military convoy near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv broken and redeployed

Satellite images taken by a US firm of a large Russian military convoy near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, show it has “largely dispersed and redeployed”.

The convoy was last seen near Antonov Airport, north-west of Kyiv, and its movement could signal a renewed push towards the city.

The firm that took the photos, Maxar Technologies, said parts of the convoy were in positions in surrounding towns.

Other parts are further north, with artillery now in firing positions.

“Ukrainian big cities are again subjected to devastating blows,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak.

He added that the shelling in Lutsk had shut down two central heating compounds.

“Russia’s destructive war against civilians and major cities continues,” he said.

Russian state media reported that the Ukrainian city of Volnovakha had been captured by Russian-backed separatist forces.

Russian forces moved three miles closer to Kyiv in the past 24 hours, a senior US defence official said on Thursday.

That meant Russian troops advancing from the north-west were now just nine miles from the city centre, the official added.

The convoy was earlier seen stalled not far from the capital, where US officials said it was targeted by Ukrainian troops with anti-tank missiles. It is not clear how many of the vehicles currently seen on the move may have been an initial part of that first group.

Fierce battles have been raging in recent days in Irpin and Bucha, satellite towns just a few kilometres north-west of Kyiv. Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes.

On Thursday, footage emerged apparently showing a Russian military column being hit by Ukrainian forces near the city of Brovary, just outside the capital.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko says that half the population of the city of about three million has already fled, adding that Kyiv “has been transformed into a fortress”.

“Every street, every building, every checkpoint has been fortified,” the mayor said.

Tens of thousands of civilians have formed Territorial Defence units to help the Ukrainian armed forces defend the capital.