May 21, 2022

Mariupol (Ukrainian Маріуполь; Russian Мариу́поль; Greek Μαριούπολις), in 1948–1989 Ždanov, is a port and industrial city on the north coast of the Sea of ​​Azov, respectively. Taganrožský Bay, at the mouth of the river Kalmius in the Donetsk region of southeastern Ukraine, about 120 km south of Donetsk and 50 km west of the border with Russia. In 2017, there were approximately 450,000 inhabitants, making it the 10th largest city in Ukraine and the 2nd largest city in the Donetsk region. During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the city is heavily bombed and almost 80% destroyed. In 2022, the heroic city of Ukraine was awarded the honorary title.

History and culture

The area where Mariupol is located was called Wild Fields until the 18th century. Tatar raids from the Crimean Khanate prevented the permanent settlement of the coast. The city itself was founded by Russian Empress Catherine the Great and Russian Prince Grigory Potemkin between 1770 and 1780, in honor of Maria Fyodorovna, wife of the future Tsar Paul I. After the victorious war with Turkey and the defeat of the Crimean Khanate, the area could be populated and province within Tsarist Russia. During these years, the Russian government also relocated the Crimean Greeks to the area. The city has been traditionally Russian-speaking since its foundation. In 1778 he was granted city rights by Empress Catherine. During the Crimean War, the city was severely damaged. The Anglo-French blockade stopped maritime trade, and on May 24, 1855, Anglo-French troops landed in the city, setting fire to several houses and destroying the port depot. Great development took place after 1870 with the advent of the railway; At that time, large ironworks and other industrial enterprises were established during the industrialization of Novorussia. The Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater, founded in 1878, is the first in the region, as well as many cinemas, cultural houses and several museums. There are 11 churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and 3 churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate. Since 1926, the town has been developing a spa. During World War II, the city was occupied by the German army from October 8, 1941 to September 10, 1943. During the two years of occupation, about 10,000 people were shot dead in the city and 50,000 young people were taken to forced labor in Germany. In the years 1948–1989, the town was named Ždanov in honor of the Soviet politician Andrej Ždanov, who was born here in 1896. At the end of the 20th century, an economic recession came to the city, which brought a significant decline in population. From June to October 2014, Mariupol was the administrative center of the Donetsk region instead of the separatist-controlled Donetsk. In response, a counter-offensive was launched to prevent or at least hinder the resumption of attacks on civilian targets. This counter-offensive was largely led by the paramilitary Azov Regiment and ended with the occupation of tactical positions northeast of Mariupol and in the locality of Syrokyne.

Russian aggression 2017–2022

On January 1, 2017, the Russian news agency TASS mistakenly claimed that Ukrainian military forces had opened artillery fire on the Donetsk People's Republic during the trip of Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko and US Senator John McCain to Mariupol. When the so-called Crimean Bridge was opened in May 2018, connecting Russia with the annexed Crimea in the Kerch Strait, the sea route to Ukrainian ports on the Azov coast, including Mariupol, was bridged. The cargo ships bound for them found themselves under the control of the Russian authorities, which led to long delays