Battle of Mariupol

Article

May 20, 2022

The Battle of Mariupol was a military confrontation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, which began on February 25, 2022 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The city of Mariupol is located in the Donetsk region and is directly claimed by the Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic. Russian forces completely besieged the city on March 2, then gradually gained control of the city. The Red Cross called the situation "apocalyptic" and Ukrainian authorities accused Russia of causing a major humanitarian crisis in the city, with city officials saying about 21,000 civilians had died.

Background

The city of Mariupol is considered an important strategic city and a target for Russian forces. Mariupol is the largest city in Ukraine-controlled part of the Donetsk region. Mariupol is an important industrial center, the seat of the Azovstal ironworks and the largest city on the Sea of ​​Azov. Control of its port on the west bank of the Sea of ​​Azov is vital for Ukraine's economy. For Russia, it would allow a land route to Crimea as well as the passage of Russian shipping. By occupying the city, Russia would gain full control of the Sea of ​​Azov. In May 2014, during the war in Donbas, separatist and Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republics (DLRs) attacked the city and forced Ukrainian forces to retreat during the Battle of Mariupol, but the following month conquered back. A few months later, in September, DLR tried to conquer it for the second time, which again failed. In October, Prime Minister Alexander Zacharchenko promised to get the city back. The conflict was frozen when the Minsk II armistice agreement was signed in 2015. One of the groups most responsible for reconquering Mariupol was the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi volunteer militia. Until September 2014, Azov was integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine and appointed Mariupol as his headquarters. Given that one of Vladimir Putin's declared goals in this war is the "denazification" of Ukraine, Mariupol is an important ideological goal for Russian forces. infantry, the National Guard of Ukraine (especially the Azov Battalion), the territorial defense forces of Ukraine and irregular units.

Battle

February

The battle was preceded by artillery bombing of the city by Russian forces on February 24, which allegedly injured 26 people. On the morning of February 25, Russian forces advanced on Mariupol from the DLR in the east and clashed with the Ukrainians in the battle of the village of Pavlopil. The Ukrainians defeated Russian forces and, according to Mariupol Mayor Vadyma Bojchenko, allegedly destroyed 22 Russian tanks. On the evening of February 25, the Russian Navy launched an amphibious assault on the Azov coast west of Mariupol. The US defense official said the Russians would potentially deploy thousands of Marines from the bridgehead. On February 26, Russian forces continued to artillery bomb Mariupol. Subsequently, the Greek government announced that 10 Greek civilians had been killed in Russian strikes in Mariupol, 6 of them in the village of Sartana and 4 in the village of Buhas. On the morning of February 27, Bojchenko said was repulsed by Ukrainian forces, while 6 Russian soldiers were captured. Later that day, a six-year-old girl was killed in Mariupol by Russian shelling. On February 28, the city remained under Ukrainian control, despite being surrounded by Russian troops and exposed to constant shelling. Bojchenko announced that a Russian military plane had been shot down near him. In the evening, the supply of electricity, gas and internet was cut off in most of the city.