Kyiv
Kyiv iStock

Ukraine said on Saturday that its forces had seized back all areas around the capital Kyiv, claiming complete control of the capital region for the first time since Russia launched the invasion, Reuters reported.

Ukraine's troops have retaken more than 30 towns and villages around Kyiv since Russia pulled back from the area this week, Ukrainian officials said.

"The whole Kyiv region is liberated from the invader," Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister, Hanna Malyar, wrote on Facebook. There was no Russian comment on the claim, which Reuters could not immediately verify.

Since sending troops on Feb. 24 in what it called a "special operation" to demilitarize its neighbor, Russia has failed to capture a single major city and has instead laid siege to urban areas, uprooting a quarter of Ukraine's population.

Ukraine's armed forces reported diminished Russian air and missile strikes on Saturday but said Russian troops retreating from near Kyiv were deploying mines.

On Friday, the White House said the US would be providing Ukraine with supplies and equipment in case Russia deploys chemical or biological weapons.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the supplies were being provided given a warning by the United States and other countries about the possibility that Russia could deploy such weapons in Ukraine.

Russia recently claimed that Ukraine is running chemical and biological labs with US support.

Psaki later rejected the claims from Russia as "false" and "preposterous," and warned they could serve as a pretext for the Russians to deploy chemical weapons in their assault on Ukraine.