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Battle of Okhtyrka

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Battle of Okhtyrka
Part of the
Okhtyrka City Council after Russian invasion, 14 April 2022.jpg
Date24 February – 26 March 2022
(1 month and 2 days)
Location50°11′30″N 34°57′00″E / 50.19167°N 34.95000°E / 50.19167; 34.95000
Status

Ukrainian victory

  • Bombardment of Okhtyrka continues[1]
Belligerents
 Russia  Ukraine
Units involved
 Russian Armed Forces  Ukrainian Armed Forces
Casualties and losses
Unknown Per Ukraine:
70+ killed (28 Feb. only),[2] 32 wounded (as of 26 Feb.)[3]
100 civilians killed[4]
Okhtyrka is located in Ukraine
Okhtyrka
Okhtyrka
Location within Ukraine
Okhtyrka is located in Sumy Oblast
Okhtyrka
Okhtyrka
Okhtyrka (Sumy Oblast)

The battle of Okhtyrka was a military engagement in and around Okhtyrka city in Sumy Oblast of Ukraine. It began on 24 February 2022, as part of the Northeastern Ukraine offensive during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Fighting began in the outskirts of the city as Russian forces attempted to occupy the city. The initial advance was repelled, and the city was attacked by artillery fire. On March 26, 2022, it was reported that the strategic stronghold of Trostianets was taken back by Ukrainian Forces. This disrupted Russian communications and supply routes, threatening the Russian front.

The Russian offensive has been criticized for civilian casualties and the use of cluster bombs, which may constitute war crimes.

Battle

On the morning of 24 February, Russian forces entered Sumy Oblast from Russia, with fighting beginning at 07:30 at the nearby village of Velyka Pysarivka.[5] Russian forces were unable to occupy Okhtyrka, and retreated the following day, leaving behind tanks and equipment.[6]

On 25 February, BM-27 Uragan missiles hit a pre-school in Okhtyrka.[7] The missiles killed a child and two adults. The missiles were allegedly cluster bombs, whose use may constitute a war crime, according to Amnesty International.[8] Ukrainian officials also claim that Russian forces shot at a civilian bus near Okhtyrka.[9][10][11] Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the governor of Sumy Oblast, stated that three other civilians had been killed in the city.[12]

On 26 February, two Danish journalists were wounded when their car was shot at by unknown forces.[13][14]

On 27 February, Ukrainian forces allegedly destroyed Russian tanks attempting to capture the nearby town of Trostianets. The mayor of the town later stated, "Russians, Welcome to Hell! Fuck you, not Ukraine! Trostianets, and all over Ukraine! We will win!".[15] According to Zhyvytskyi, during the day's fighting Russian soldiers and civilians were killed.[2]

On 28 February, Russian forces bombed and destroyed an oil depot in Okhtyrka.[16] Also more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed when a military base in Okhtyrka was hit by a Russian thermobaric bomb, local officials said.[2][17]

On 3 March, Zhyvytskyi claimed that a Russian airstrike on the local combined heat and power station had cut off the city's electricity and heating supply.[18][19]

In the early morning of 10 March, Zhyvytskyi stated that Okhtyrka was being constantly bombed, destroying the city's infrastructure including the sewage system and water supply network.[19]

On 14 March, Pavlo Kuzmenko, the mayor of Okhtyrka, stated that at least three civilians had been killed in a Russian airstrike that struck a residential area.[20]

By 26 March, Russian forces withdrew from Okhtyrka.[21]

Vacuum bomb

On 28 February, Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, stated that Russian forces used a thermobaric (vacuum) bomb in Okhtyrka.[22][23][24] International law does not prohibit the use of thermobaric munitions, fuel-air explosive devices, or vacuum bombs against military targets.[25][26] Their use against civilian populations may be banned by the United Nations (UN) Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).[27]

Markarova claimed that the use of thermobaric weapons is in violation of the Geneva Conventions.[28][29][30] The attack destroyed a Ukrainian military base, killing 70 soldiers.[31]

  • Photos and a video
  • Okhtyrka City Council after the battle

  • Okhtyrka after Russian shelling, 2 March 2022

  • The Russian shelling of a kindergarten resulted in 8 deaths

  • The Okhtyrka Heat and Power Plant after Russian shelling

References

  1. ^ "Між похоронами, бомбами й весіллями. Як виживає місто-герой Охтирка". Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "More than 70 Ukrainian soldiers killed after Russian artillery hit Okhtyrka base". The Washington Times. Associated Press. 28 February 2022. Archived from the original on 2 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  3. ^ Skakun, Serhey (26 February 2022). "На Сумщині за день близько сотні поранених, 4 – загиблих | Данкор онлайн | Сумской информационный портал: все новости Сумщины". dancor.sumy.ua (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  4. ^ ‘After the victory’: ruined city of Okhtyrka clings to hope of brighter future
  5. ^ "Ведеться бій в Охтирці, можливий артобстріл – Живицький". Радіо Свобода (in Ukrainian). 25 February 2022. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  6. ^ "В Охтирці російські окупанти покидали БТРи та розбіглися — Геращенко". Новини Чернівці: Інформаційний портал «Молодий буковинець» (in Ukrainian). 25 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  7. ^ Rodak, Kateryna (25 February 2022). "В Охтирці росіяни обстріляли дитячий садок та сховище з людьми". ZAXID.NET (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  8. ^ Churchman, Laurie (28 February 2022). "Putin accused of using 'cluster bombs' in strike on pre-school". The Independent. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Enemy tanks shell bus with civilians in Sumy region". Ukrinform.net. 27 February 2022. Archived from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Суспільне Суми". Telegram. Archived from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  11. ^ "In the Sumy region, invaders shot bus with civilian people, didn't allow ambulance to pass". Pravada. 27 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Russian shelling in Ukraine's Okhtyrka kills 6, including 7-year-old girl". India Today. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  13. ^ Harvey, Josephine (28 February 2022). "2 Danish Journalists Shot In Ukraine: 'We Are Lucky To Be Alive'". HuffPost. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Journalists Contributing to WhoWhatWhy Shot in Ukraine". WhoWhatWhy. 27 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  15. ^ ""Ласкаво просимо в пекло": у Тростянці знищили російську військову техніку" ['Welcome to hell': Russian military equipment was captured from Trostianets]. Контракты.UA (in Russian). 27 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Prohibited bombs dropped on Okhtyrka, oil depot on fire". www.ukrinform.net. 28 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  17. ^ "More than 70 Ukrainian soldiers killed in Russian attack on base near Kharkiv". The Guardian. 1 March 2022. Archived from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  18. ^ Jim Heintz; Yuras Karmanau; Mstyslav Chernov (3 March 2022). "Russian Forces Take Control of Europe's Biggest Nuclear Plant After Shelling It". Time. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  19. ^ a b www.ukrinform.net Okhtyrka town being bombed day and night Archived 10 March 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Russians bomb Okhtyrka residential neighbourhood: three killed". Ukrayinska Pravda. 14 March 2022. Archived from the original on 14 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Між похоронами, бомбами й весіллями. Як виживає місто-герой Охтирка". Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  22. ^ Zengerle, Patricia. "Ukraine's ambassador to U.S. says Russia used a vacuum bomb on Monday". Reuters. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  23. ^ "Oil depot burns after artillery shelling in Okhtyrka, Sumy Oblast. Mayor Pavlo Kuzmenko reported that Russian occupiers dropped a vacuum bomb. This type of weapon is known as the most deadly non-nuclear bomb, producing high-temperature explosions". Twitter. The Kyiv Independent. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Ukraine's ambassador to U.S. says Russia used a vacuum bomb on Monday". National Post. 28 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  25. ^ "Ukraine's ambassador to US says Russia used a vacuum bomb, international groups say banned cluster munitions used to strike shelter". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  26. ^ Hanson, Marianne. "What are thermobaric weapons? And why should they be banned?". The Conversation. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  27. ^ Dunlap, Charlie (27 February 2022). "The Ukraine crisis and the international law of armed conflict (LOAC): some Q & A". Lawfire. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Live Updates / Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Russia investigated for war crimes as peace talks stall". NBC News. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  29. ^ "Ukraine's ambassador to U.S. says Russia used a vacuum bomb on Monday". National Post. 28 February 2022. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  30. ^ Reich, Aaron (1 March 2022). "Ukraine's ambassador to the US accused Moscow of using a vacuum bomb in its invasion * Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said states that commit war crimes shouldn't get a permanent UNSC seat". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  31. ^ Camille Gijs; Douglas Busvine (1 March 2022). "Russia used powerful vacuum bomb on Ukraine, envoy says". Politico. Archived from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
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