Battle of Huliaipole

Ongoing battle of the Russo-Ukrainian War
Battle of Huliaipole
Part of the Southern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Map of combat operations in the vicinity of Huliaipole on June 28, 2022
Date5 March 2022 – present
(8 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Huliaipole, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine
Status Ongoing
Belligerents
 Russia  Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Serhiy Yarmak
Serhii Parkhomenko 
Dmytro Vasyliev 
Units involved
 Russian Armed Forces

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

  • 45th Separate Artillery Brigade
  • 229th Tactical Aviation Brigade
Casualties and losses
12 civilians killed, 4+ wounded
  • v
  • t
  • e
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Kyiv offensive

Northeastern Ukraine campaign

Eastern Ukraine campaign
Donbas offensive
Eastern Ukrainian counteroffensive

Southern Ukraine campaign
Southern Ukrainian counteroffensive

Other regions
Naval war
Spillover and cross-border incidents
Resistance

Possibly related

The Battle of Huliaipole is an ongoing military conflict between the Armed Forces of Russia and the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the city of Huliaipole, in central Zaporizhzhia Oblast.[1]

Battle

March

During the course of the Southern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Huliaipole lost power and water from 2 March 2022.[1] The following day, Russian forces captured the nearby city of Polohy.[2] On 5 March, Russian forces briefly entered Huliaipole.[1]

On 15 March, the Russian Armed Forces were conducting combat operations around Huliaipole.[3] A Ukrainian missile division led by Dmytro Vasyliev [uk] struck back at the Russian forces near Huliaipole, but on 18 March, Vasyliev was fired upon by Russian forces and died from his injuries the day after. He was posthumously awarded the Order of the Gold Star, which was presented to his wife and child by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.[4] On 26 March, the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration claimed Ukrainian forces had recaptured the villages of Poltavka and Malynivka east of Huliaipole after heavy fighting.[5]

By 30 March, Huliaipole had experienced almost a month of nightly shelling, while its population had decreased to around 2,000, with around a dozen civilian deaths.[1]

April

On 21 April, three Russian helicopters were shot down over Huliaipole by a Ukrainian man-portable air-defense system, forcing a nearby Russian tank column to retreat, while Ukrainian long range artillery also destroyed 24 Russian tanks and 10 APCs in the area around the city. Serhiy Yarmak, the mayor of Huliaipole, reported that local Ukrainian forces had named their defensive positions after Nestor Makhno, a native of Huliaipole that fought in the Ukrainian War of Independence.[6]

On 25 April, the Russian forces began concentrating their efforts on capturing Huliaipole, reinforcing their own positions and firing on Ukrainian ones.[7] The following day, three people were wounded and a number of houses destroyed during a Russian artillery bombardment, which continued for a number of days.[6] The provincial government of Zaporizhzhia later reported that Russian troops in the area were shooting their own cars, in order to not get sent to the front at Huliaipole, and that they were also complaining about the ineffectiveness that their attacks had on the Territorial Defense Forces.[8]

May

On 6 May, the Russian forces began to shell the city with artillery and airstrikes.[9] In response to the shelling, Serhiy Yarmak ordered an evacuation of the town's residents.[10] On 14 May, it was reported that many residential buildings had been damaged or destroyed during the continued bombardment,[11] an act which the Security Service of Zaporizhzhia considered to be a war crime.[12] Russian forces also destroyed the road between the Ukrainian-held Huliaipole and the Russian-held city of Polohy, using land mines.[13][14] That same day, Serhii Parkhomenko, a commander in the 229th Tactical Aviation Brigade, was shot down and killed near Huliaipole. He was posthumously awarded the title "Hero of Ukraine", which was presented to his family by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.[4]

On 28 May, the 45th Separate Artillery Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces published a video documenting the artillery bombardment of Russian forces, which were reportedly looting a hamlet near Huliaipole.[15]

June

In June, Russian forces deployed multiple rocket launchers to shell Huliaipole's remaining civilian infrastructure.[16] Oleksandr Starukh, the governor of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, reported that the Ukrainian defensive line was being reinforced at Huliaipole, where clashes were still ongoing.[17] On 7 June, a 10 year-old child was wounded in a Russian artillery strike against Huliaipole.[18]

On 9 June, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence reported that the bodies of Russian soldiers who died fighting in Huliaipole had been taken to a meat packing plant in Russian-occupied Melitopol, and accused the Russian government of downplaying the number of casualties.[19] The Chief Intelligence Directorate also revealed that they had attempted to break the siege of Mariupol in early April, but the detachment sent from Huliaipole to break into the city was repelled by the Russian defensive line.[20]

On 13 June, the Russian Air Force launched a series of airstrikes against Ukrainian positions at Huliaipole.[21] The Russian armed forces reportedly continued to target civilian infrastructure, rather than directly engaging Ukrainian forces.[22] According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, this continued bombardment was being carried out in order to pin down the Ukrainian forces in Huliaipole, as part of an attempt by Russian forces to capture the city of Sievierodonetsk.[23][24] Mortars, artillery and multiple rocket launchers were fired against Ukrainian positions in Huliaipole by Russian forces, but the Ukrainians were able to repel the Russian offensive.[25] Small gains were made by the Ukrainian forces in the area around Huliaipole, although this came at a high personnel cost, with many Ukrainians being injured in the artillery fire.[26]

5-storey house in Huliaipole after Russian shelling on 30 June 2022.

On 18 June, shelling against Huliaipole continued, damaging several residential and commercial buildings, and wounding a number of civilians.[27][28] On 28 June, in order to pin down Ukrainian forces as part of the Russian offensive against Lysychansk, Russian forces bombarded Ukrainian positions in Huliaipole.[29]

July

On 5 July, the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration reported continued Russian missile attacks against civilian infrastructure in Huliaipole.[30] On 10 July, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces also reported sustained Russian artillery attacks on Huliaipole.[31] Following Russian missile attacks against Huliaipole on 12 July, the National Police of Ukraine reported that cluster bombs had exploded in nearby agricultural fields and burnt down over 600 hectares of grain.[32] Although the Russian Armed Forces were not conducting any further offensive operations in Zaporizhzhia, they continued to shell Huliaipole.[33]

On 19 July, the Russian Armed Forces began regrouping their troops in Zaporizhzhia and started concentrating their efforts on capturing the region.[34] That date, Russian forces shelled Huliaipole using a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher system and artillery, causing damage to a number of administrative and residential buildings, and reportedly leaving a number of casualties, with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine putting out fires in the aftermath.[35] On 21 July, Serhiy Yarmak reported that over 1,000 homes and nearly all of the town's infrastructure had been damaged during the months of heavy shelling.[36] Russian forces continued to shell civilian and military infrastructure in Huliaipole into August, but did not take any further military actions in the area.[37]

August

Destroyed sports complex

On 12 August, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported that Russian forces had opened fire against Ukrainian positions at Huliaipole, but they were repelled.[38] As part of their effort to advance towards Zaporizhzhia, Russian forces then conducted aerial reconnaissance near Huliaipole.[39] Further shelling of Huliaipole was reportedly conducted by Russian tanks and artillery,[40] which were subsequently followed by airstrikes.[41] Sustained bombardment of Huliaipole by Russian artillery and airstrikes[42] resulted in the destruction of a sports complex on 22 August.[43] On the night of 28 August, a Russian Kh-22 missile reportedly struck a housing community in the regional capital of Zaporizhzhia, where a number of Huliaipole residents had been sheltering after fleeing their home city.[44] Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff reported on the continuation of Russian airstrikes against Huliaipole.[45] The Russian air force also carried out reconnaissance around Huliaipole, using unmanned aerial vehicles.[46]

September

Historical revenue house of the merchant Boris Karmanov (1900) after shelling on 28 September 2022

On 1 September, Russian forces shelled Huliaipole with tanks and artillery,[47] in attacks which continued as a number of Russian military personnel on the Zaporizhzhia front were killed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.[48] On 5 September, the Military Administration of Zaporizhzhia Oblast reported that Russian forces had been firing on Huliaipole's civilian infrastructure,[49] while concentrating their main efforts on holding their own positions.[50] Although not taking offensive operations on the Zaporizhzhia front, Russian shelling of Huliaipole's civilian infrastructure persisted,[51] with reports indicating that civilians had been injured and one killed in the bombardment.[52] On 24 September, Ukrainian artillery units in Huliaipole destroyed 10 pieces of Russian weapons systems,[53] but Russian shelling of the city was able to continue the following day.[54] According to Oleksandr Starukh, on 28 September, Russian forces fired three S-300 missiles at the city centre, destroying a historical building, damaging a road and causing an unconfirmed number of casualties.[55]

October

Russian forces did not conduct active offensive operations against Huliaipole at the beginning of October, but continued to shell the city,[56] inflicting fire damage,[57] using artillery, mortars and tanks.[58] According to Zaporizhzhia Governor Oleksandr Starukh, the Russian shelling killed Huliaipole's deputy mayor Oleksandr Savytskyi and the local utility service director Oleksandr Kosarenko, who reportedly died at their workplaces.[59][60] Following the shelling, on 4 October, the Ukrainian Air Force responded by striking back at Russian positions near Huliaipole, destroying some military equipment.[61][62] Russian artillery and rocket attacks continued in the following days.[63]

On the night of 16 October, Russian missiles hit and destroyed schools in the neighbouring villages of Vozdvyzhivka [uk] and Dobropillia [uk], just north of Huliaipole, as part of a sustained bombardment against civilian infrastructure in the region.[64] The following day, the Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out strikes against the Russian positions south of Huliaipole, reportedly hitting military equipment and injuring dozens of Russian soldiers.[65] On 19 October, Oleksandr Starukh reported that Russian S-300 missiles had been fired on the city itself, destroying another school without causing any casualties.[66]

On 28 October, Russian forces fired again on Ukrainian military positions and civilian infrastructure in Huliaipole.[67] The shelling particularly targetted residential homes,[68] reportedly causing fire damage.[69]

November

On 4 November, Russian forces continued to shell Huliaipole, using tanks, mortars and artillery.[70][71] The following day, Ivan Fedorov gave an interview with Ukrinform, in which he claimed that detained residents of Melitopol were being used by the Russian military occupation to dig trenches around Huliaipole.[72] On 7 November, Oleksandr Starukh reported that Russian forces had fired S-300 missiles at a village near Huliaipole, damaging a cultural center and a farm warehouse, along with some homes.[73] The following day, Huliaipole was shelled again with artillery.[74] On 10 November, while the artillery shelling of Huliaipole continued, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces were starting to fortify their positions in the occupied areas of the Zaporizhzhia region, using civilians to help with the construction.[75] The following day, Russian forces carried out missile strikes against civilian infrastructure in Huliaipole,[76] reportedly destroying houses.[77] On 12 November, Ivan Fedorov reported that the 115th Separate Melitopol Battalion of the Territorial Defense Forces had destroyed 4 Russian armored personnel carriers near Huliaipole.[78]

The artillery shelling of Huliaipole continued through the following week,[79] damaging houses and civilian infrastructure,[80] as part of an attempt by Russian forces to defend their frontlines through the Zaporizhzhia region. On 18 November, the Ukrainian Armed Forces responded by carrying out strikes against Russian positions along the contact line,[81][82] wounding more than 100 soldiers and destroying military equipment.[83]

Having faced constant shelling for eight months, the coming winter also became a concern for the people of Huliaipole, which was beginning to face negative temperature. As the city no longer had electricity, food was cooked over open fires and water was drawn from wells. Volunteer aid workers distributed warm clothing and food to the locals, who Reuters reported were sheltering from the shelling together in cramped basements.[84]

References

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