Russian Army Could be Encircled by Ukraine Forces Outside Kyiv—U.K.

British intelligence has said that there is "a realistic possibility" that Russian forces will be encircled by Ukraine's army close to the capital Kyiv in the northwestern cities of Bucha and Irpin.

Russian forces have been trying to surround and cut off the capital, but large areas around Kyiv remain under Ukrainian control, especially south of the city. Sporadic shelling has caused civilian casualties and wiped out homes in the city, despite Russian artillery being out of range of the city center.

In a statement released on Thursday, Britain's ministry of defense said: "Ukraine is increasing pressure on Russian force north-east of Kyiv. Russian forces along this axis are already facing considerable supply and morale issues.

"Ukrainian forces are carrying out successful counter-attacks against Russian positions in towns on the outskirts of the capital, and have probably retaken Makariv and Moschun. There is a realistic possibility that Ukrainian forces are now able to encircle Russian units in Bucha and Irpin."

"It is likely that successful counter-attacks by Ukraine will disrupt the ability of Russian forces to reorganize and resume their own offensive towards Kyiv."

Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24 but has since failed to capture any of Ukraine's major cities, including the capital.

On Thursday, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky urged people around the world to take to the streets in support of his country, where thousands of people have been killed since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his army to invade.

Western NATO leaders met in Brussels on Thursday to discuss strengthening the alliance's Eastern flank and increasing military aid to Ukraine.

On Thursday, Josep Borrell, the European Union's top diplomat, said that the Kremlin has no interest in negotiating a ceasefire in Ukraine because its army had not reached any of its military goals.

"Right now, Russia doesn't want to sit and negotiate anything: what it wants is to occupy the ground," Borrell told Spain's TVE channel.

"It wants to surround the coast to the border with Moldova and isolate Ukraine from the sea. It wants to negotiate in earnest only when it has secured a position of strength."

Borrell said the EU and its allies will keep delivering military aid to Ukraine's army.

"It is important because everything will be decided in the next 15 days," Borrell said. "What will make history is the capacity of Ukrainians to resist."

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Russian forces of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Follow all the live developments of the war on Newsweek's liveblog here.

Soldier in Kyiv
A Ukrainian serviceman stays guard at Independence Square in Kyiv on March 23, 2022, as for the first time, there are signs that Ukrainian forces are going on the offensive. British intelligence has said that there are realistic chances that Russian forces will be encircled in close to the capital Kyiv in the cities of Bucha and Irpin. Sergei Supinsky/Getty