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Battle of Kharkiv (2022)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Battle of Kharkiv (2022)
Part of the Northeastern Ukraine offensive and Eastern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian forces around Kharkiv at the beginning of May. By the second week of May, Ukrainian forces pushed back Russian units away from the city and back to the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Date24 February – 14 May 2022
(2 months, 2 weeks and 6 days)[1]
Location
Status

Ukrainian victory[2]

  • Ukrainian forces repel Russian advances on Kharkiv
  • Ukrainian forces drive Russian forces back to the Russia–Ukraine border
Belligerents
 Russia  Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Vitaly Gerasimov
Units involved

 Russian Armed Forces

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

National Guard of Ukraine[7]

  • 3rd Operational Brigade
  • 5th National Guard Brigade "Slobozhansky"
Security Service of Ukraine[7]
State Border Guard Service of Ukraine[7]
Territorial Defense Forces[7]
Sich Battalion[8]
Ukrainian irregulars[9]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Per Ukraine (as of 7 March):
76 killed, 124 wounded[7][needs update]
  • Per Ukraine:
  • 606 civilians killed[10]
  • 600,000+ evacuated[11]

The battle of Kharkiv was a military engagement that took place in and around the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine as part of the Northeastern Ukraine offensive and Eastern Ukraine offensive during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[12][13] Kharkiv, located just 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the Russia–Ukraine border and a predominately Russian-speaking city, is the second-largest city in Ukraine and was considered a major target for the Russian military early in the invasion.[14][15]

By 13 May, Ukrainian forces pushed back the Russian units attempting to encircle the city and drove them back to the Russian border.[2] Additionally, it was reported that Russian forces had decided to withdraw from the Kharkiv region.[16] The following day, the Institute for the Study of War reported that: “Ukraine thus appears to have won the battle of Kharkiv”.[17]

Battle

February

Russian shelling of Kharkiv, 28 February 2022

On 24 February, Russian forces amassed in Belgorod crossed the border and began advancing towards Kharkiv, meeting Ukrainian resistance.[15] Russian artillery fired barrages at the city, killing a young boy.[18]

By 25 February, fierce fighting had broken out in the northern suburbs of the city, near the village of Tsyrkuny, where Ukrainian forces were able to hold against Russian forces.[19]

On 26 February, Oleh Synyehubov, the Governor of Kharkiv Oblast, claimed that the entire city remained under Ukrainian control.[20] American officials reported that the heaviest fighting of the entire conflict was occurring at Kharkiv.[21]

In the early morning of 27 February, Russian forces destroyed a gas pipeline in Kharkiv.[22][23] Later in the morning, Russian forces entered Kharkiv, with Synyehubov reporting that heavy fighting was occurring within the city,[24][25] and Ministry of Internal Affairs advisor Anton Herashchenko claiming street fighting was underway in the city centre.[26][27]

Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman Igor Konashenkov later claimed that Russian forces had secured the surrender of the Ukrainian 302nd Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment and captured 471 Ukrainian soldiers, a claim that Ukrainian officials denied.[28][29] Ukrainian officials claimed that their forces had destroyed half of Russian military vehicles that had advanced into Kharkiv, including at least 6 GAZ Tigr-Ms.[30][31]

By the afternoon of 27 February, Synyehubov reported that Ukrainian forces had regained full control of the city.[32][33][34] He added that dozens of Russian soldiers had surrendered.[35]

On 28 February, Herashchenko claimed that Russian rocket strikes on the city had killed dozens of civilians,[36] while Synyehubov reported that eleven civilians were killed and dozens wounded,[37][38] and Ihor Terekhov, the mayor of Kharkiv, reporting that nine civilians were killed and 37 were wounded.[39] One of those killed was a 25-year-old student from Algeria, who was killed by a Russian sniper.[40]

Later on 28 February, Terekhov reported that Russian forces were beginning to destroy electrical substations in Kharkiv, resulting in some areas of the city being disconnected from power, heating and water. He also added that 87 homes had been damaged in Russian shelling.[41] It was also reported that the Malyshev Factory had been destroyed by Russian shelling.[42][43]

Later on 28 February, Human Rights Watch stated that Russian forces used cluster bombs in the Industrialnyi, Moskovskyi and Shevchenkivskyi districts of the city. Human Rights Watch noted that the use of cluster bombs is prohibited by the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions and that their use "might constitute a war crime", due to the threat they pose to civilians.[44]

March

The shelling of Kharkiv regional state administration on 1 March

On the morning of 1 March, a Russian 3M54-1 Kalibr missile struck Freedom Square in central Kharkiv, detonating in front of the Kharkiv Oblast administrative building.[45][46][47] The Slovene consulate was destroyed in the blast.[48] An opera house and a concert hall were also damaged.[49] At least 24 people were wounded[50][51][52] and 29 were killed, according to the regional administration.[53]

The Biathlon Federation of Ukraine later reported that one of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in Kharkiv on 1 March was Yevgeny Malyshev, a biathlete and former member of the Ukrainian national team.[54]

Later on 1 March, it was reported that an 21-year-old Indian student studying at Kharkiv National Medical University had been killed during Russian shelling. The student was from the village of Chalageri in Karnataka.[55][56] According to the local Indian student coordinator, he was killed by an airstrike in the morning while he stood in a line-up to buy groceries.[57] Indian authorities later announced they had evacuated all Indian nationals from Kyiv as part of a wider operation. Of the 8,000 Indian students that were still in Ukraine on 1 March, around half were located in Kharkiv and Sumy.[58] A member of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Mayna Fenina, was also killed during shelling on 1 March.[59]

School of Economics of the National University of Kharkiv
, 2 March

On 2 March, Synyehubov stated that at least 21 people had been killed and 112 wounded in the previous 24 hours.[60] Russian paratroopers landed in Kharkiv and conducted a raid on a Ukrainian military hospital after an aerial assault on the city, leading to heavy clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces. A local official later claimed that Ukrainian forces still controlled the hospital.[61][62]

The Kharkiv Police headquarters, a military academy and the National University of Kharkiv were damaged by Russian shelling during the morning.[63][64] Several residential areas were also struck by Russian missiles.[50] Russian missiles later struck Freedom Square again, damaging the Kharkiv City Council building and the Derzhprom, in addition to some high-rise buildings.[65]

On the night of 2 March, two missiles struck the headquarters of the Kharkiv Territorial Defence Forces. The Assumption Cathedral, which was being used as a shelter by civilians, was also damaged,[66][67] along with the Catholic Church of St. Anthony.[67][68] CNN released a report claiming that of all the 16 locations in Kharkiv targeted by Russian shelling that week; only three were non-civilian areas.[69]

The Security Service of Ukraine stated on 6 March that Russian BM-21 Grads were shelling the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which houses a nuclear research facility, and warned it could lead to a large-scale ecological disaster.[70] The International Atomic Energy Agency stated the next day that the nuclear research facility had reportedly been damaged but there was no radiation leak.[71] Local emergency officials stated that at least eight civilians had been killed in the shelling on the city overnight.[72] The Azerbaijani consulate in the city was meanwhile severely damaged[73] and the Albanian consulate was demolished.[74]

On 7 March, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence announced that Ukrainian forces had killed Russian Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, a deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army.[75] Other Russian officers were also killed in the attack.[76] Russian soldiers also killed two civilian volunteers at the Feldman Ecopark as they entered the animals' enclosure to feed them.[77][78]

On 8 March, Synyehubov stated that more than 600,000 civilians had been evacuated from the city via railways.[11] Ukrainian officials stated that all of Kharkiv was under their control, and that aside from some shelling on the outskirts of the city, no Russian offensive action was being taken.[79]

On 10 March, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine stated that four people, including two children, were killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv. Russian shelling also destroyed a shopping mall in the centre of the city.[80] Later, Herashchenko claimed that a Russian airstrike had struck the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology.[81]

On 14 March, Russian shelling hit a residential area, killing two civilians and wounding one.[82] The following day, Synyehubov claimed that the city had been shelled 65 times on 14 March, killing a civilian, and that 600 residential buildings had been destroyed in Kharkiv.[83]

On 16 March, Ukrainian officials claimed that three civilians were killed and five were wounded when Russian forces shelled a market.[84]

On 18 March, Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor's Office reported shelling of residential buildings in Slobidskyi and Moskovskyi districts of the city. In addition, the building of the Institute of State Administration of the National Academy for Public Administration was partially ruined.[85] Russian shelling of Saltivka killed 96-year-old Boris Romanchenko, who survived four Nazi concentration camps and was engaged in preserving the memory of the crimes of Nazism.[86][87]

On 19 March, Oleh Synyehubov, the appointed head of the Kharkiv Regional Civil-Military Administration (HOVA), stated that the northern suburbs of Kharkiv had been under constant bombardment and that the city centre was being struck by shells and rockets. He claimed that numerous administrative and cultural buildings had been damaged and destroyed. He also stated that Ukrainian forces had counter-attacked, pushing Russian forces away from the outskirts of the city.[88]

On 24 March, a Russian airstrike hit a Nova Poshta office, killing six civilians and injuring at least 15.[89] On 26 March, Russian shells damaged a monument at the Drobytsky Yar Holocaust memorial.[90]

On 28 March, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said that about 30% of city's residents had left Kharkiv since the onset of the war.[91] Head of HOVA, military governor Oleh Synyehubov, reported that Russians had again hit city neighbourhoods with cluster munitions. He also claimed that in several directions Ukrainian fighters had counterattacked and that they had cleared the enemy from Mala Rohan and Vilkhivka.[92]

Amid the heightened Russian shelling of Kharkiv on 31 March 2022, Russian authorities attributed an explosion at an oil supply depot approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of the border in Belgorod within Russia to an attack by two Ukrainian Mi-24 military helicopters.[93][94] Meanwhile, the Russians claimed to have killed, on the same day, more than 100 "extremists and mercenaries" from Western countries in Kharkiv with a high-precision Iskander missile strike on a defense base.[95][unreliable source?]

April

On 2 April, according to Synyehubov, the Russians were bypassing Izyum to continue to the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.[96] On 3 April, 2022, the Ukrainian government stated that two Russian soldiers had been killed and 28 others hospitalised after Ukrainian civilians handed out poisoned cakes to Russian soldiers of the Russian 3rd Motor Rifle Division in Kharkiv.[97]

Despite limited Russian withdrawals to the north of the city and the Ukrainian forcing of the road to Chuhuiv,[98] on 4 April, the Ukraine’s defence ministry warned that the invaders were preparing to launch a new assault to take the city from the east.[99][100]

Russian shelling of Kharkiv between 14 and 17 April left 18 civilians dead and 106 wounded.[101]

On 17 April, Synyehubov claimed on Telegram that the villages of Bazaliyivka, Lebyazhe and part of Kutuzivka were retaken in a Ukrainian counteroffensive, and that forces had advanced to near the village of Mala Rohan. In addition, he stated that Ukrainian forces had destroyed five tanks and ten armored vehicles "by jet fire" and had killed or captured 100 Russian soldiers.[102]

On 27 April, Kharkiv remained partially encircled.[103] On 29 April, Synyehubov said that since the war started, more than 2,000 buildings in the city were either damaged or destroyed. He also said that on 28 April, due to almost non-stop shelling, five civilians were killed.[104] Also on 29 April it was reported that the village Ruska Lozova, near Kharkiv, was retaken by Ukraine.[105]

May

On 2 May, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Ukraine retook the village of Staryi Saltiv, 40 km east of the city.[106]

On 6 May, the ISW described a Ukrainian counteroffensive "along a broad arc" near Kharkiv, reporting that Ukraine had recaptured "several villages," including Tsyrkuny [uk], Peremoha [uk] and part of Cherkaski Tyshky [uk].[107] The ISW also reported that Ukraine "may successfully push Russian forces out of artillery range of Kharkiv in the coming days."[107]

On 7 May, it was reported that Ukrainian forces had successfully pushed back Russian forces stationed around Kharkiv, with the city getting further out of range for Russian forces.[108] The same day, Ukrainian forces also reported retaking five villages northeast of Kharkiv.[109] Quoting a Ukrainian official, The New York Times said that the battle for Kharkiv was not over, but that at the moment, Ukraine was dominating, and that Russian troops were destroying bridges as they were retreating.[110]

On 11 May, Ukrainian forces claimed to have recaptured four settlements. This counteroffensive, if successful, could bring Ukrainian forces within several kilometres of the Russian border.[111]

On 13 May, it was reported that Russia had decided to withdraw its forces from the Kharkiv Oblast.[16]

On 14 May, the ISW reports that: “Ukraine thus appears to have won the battle of Kharkiv.”[17] The Mayor of Kharkiv said to the BBC: "There was no shelling in the city for the last five days. There was only one attempt from Russians to hit the city with a missile rocket near Kharkiv airport, but the missile was eliminated by Ukrainian Air Defence."[112]

On 20 May, Russian forces again shelled several villages in the Kharkiv district, including the city of Kharkiv itself, using the BM-21 Grad, BM-27 Uragan and BM-30 Smerch multiple rocket launchers.[113]

Casualties

According to the local police, 209 people had been killed as of 7 March, including 133 civilians. In addition, 443 people, including 319 civilians, had been wounded.[7] On 14 April, the governor of Kharkiv stated that at least 503 civilians had been killed in the whole province since the start of the Russian invasion.[114] Russian shelling of the city led to more killed and wounded every single day. Due to the fog of war, it is impossible to tabulate total casualties for the Battle of Kharkiv. Additionally, various skirmishes around Kharkiv's suburbs have led to casualties for both the Russian and Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Notable deaths

References

Media related to Battle of Kharkiv
at Wikimedia Commons

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