If Ukrainian forces consolidate their control of Makariv, it would become more difficult for Russian forces to secure the western approaches to Kyiv and then push further south. There are also indications that Russian forces have suffered setbacks to the north of Kyiv in areas they have held almost since the beginning of the invasion.
A brief video geolocated by CNN showed Ukrainian troops walking in the town of Moschun, about 20 miles (35 kms) north of the capital. The video appears to have been shot in the last two days.
Ukrainian drone video geolocated during the weekend showed the destruction of Russian armor in the same area.
Additionally, the flooding of the Irpin River may pose logistical difficulties for Russian troops in the area, as could the destruction of a railway bridge north of Irpin.
If Ukrainian forces consolidate their gains, the Russians' most advanced positions at Bucha and Hostomel immediately north of Kyiv could become vulnerable to encirclement.
The Russians' capture of the Antonov air base at Hostomel just after the invasion began was short-lived, preventing them from using it as an airbridge. Russian forces have artillery positions near the Antonov base, according to recent satellite imagery.
Some 12 miles (or about 20 kilometers) north of Makariv is the town of Borodyanka, which has been held by Russian and Chechen forces since early in the campaign. If the Ukrainians were to take Borodyanka, forward Russian units could be cut off.
The battlefield is fluid, and the Russians could reverse recent losses. But if the Ukrainians hold Makariv and extend their control over the area, Russian positions between the town and Kyiv would become vulnerable, further impeding their goal of pushing south beyond the main east-west highway to encircle Kyiv.
At present, the southern route out of the capital is still open, and according to CNN teams that have traveled the route, it is frequently congested with traffic bringing supplies into Kyiv.
Russia's inability to complete the encirclement of the capital over nearly four weeks has come as a surprise to the Western officials, some of whom predicted that Kyiv would fall within 72 hours of the invasion beginning.
CNN's Ellie Kaufman contributed reporting to this post.