In its latest intelligence update, the MoD said local counterattacks have hampered Russian attempts to reorganise its forces, amid fears Chernihiv could become the next Mariupol.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has admitted it would be “impossible” to completely force Russian forces out of Ukraine, amid fears Vladimir Putin is seeking a Korea-style split.
The head of military intelligence in Kyiv said the Kremlin wanted to split the country like “North and South Korea”, securing itself a region controlled from Moscow after failing in its bid for a complete takeover.
Speaking hours later, Mr Zelenskyy appeared to acknowledge his government would have to concede territory.
He said attempting to completely force Russia out “would lead to a Third World War”.
Mr Zelenskyy said he was seeking a “compromise” with Moscow over Donbas, the region which has been partly controlled by Russian-backed separatist groups since 2014.
It’s been suggested that the Kremlin wants to hold “referendums” in such areas to determine whether the people living there want to be part of Russia.
But Mr Zelenskyy wants Russian troops out of parts of the country they’ve occupied since last month’s full invasion, saying a deal is “only possible” if they are withdrawn.