LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s defence ministry said on Saturday that the bulk of Russian forces involved in the advance on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv were now 30 km (19 miles) from the city centre.

Britain, which earlier disputed Russian reports that Russian forces had captured the southeastern city of Melitopol, said the Ukrainian military was continuing to put up staunch resistance across the country.

“Russian forces have continued their advance on Kyiv with the bulk of their forces now 30 km from the centre of the city,” the defence ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.

“Russia has yet to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine greatly reducing the effectiveness of the Russian Air Force. Russian casualties are likely to be heavy and greater than anticipated or acknowledged by the Kremlin,” it said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Britain has said it will continue to supply arms to Ukraine’s embattled military as the fighting with Russian forces reached the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.

Armed forces minister James Heappey said Russian troops had not made the progress they might have hoped, with the main armoured columns still some way from the city.

The UK has already sent 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers and Heappy said they were looking to get more weaponry to the country.

On Friday, defence secretary Ben Wallace convened a meeting with 25 other donor nations who agreed to supply arms or humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Heappey told BBC Breakfast: “We know what the Ukrainians want. We are doing our best to get it to them.”

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