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Battle of Mykolaiv

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Battle of Mykolaiv
Part of the Southern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Mykolaiv Regional State Administration after Russian shelling, 30-31.03.2022 (02).jpg
Mykolaiv Regional State Administration (Ukraine) after Russian rocket strike in the morning of 29 March 2022
Date26 February – 8 April 2022
(1 month, 1 week and 6 days)
Location
Result

Ukrainian victory[1]

  • Russian military repelled from city and most of the surrounding region.[2]
  • Bombardment continues.[3]
Belligerents
 Russia  Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Aleksandr Zhuravlov
Andrey Ivanaev
Aleksandr Dvornikov
Sergey Dronov

Dmitry Marchenko[4]
Oleksandr Vinogradov[4]
Sviatoslav Stetsenko[4]
Vitaliy Kim[4][5]

Ruslan Khoda[6]
Yaroslav Chepurnoi[7]
Units involved

 Russian Armed Forces

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

 Ukrainian Navy

Irregular civilian volunteers (militia)[4]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
Frigate Hetman Sahaidachny scuttled[8]

132+ Ukrainians killed[6] and 250 wounded overall[9] (as of 16 March)
~80 civilians killed and ~450 wounded (as of 31 March)[10]

~250,000 civilians evacuated[11]

The battle of Mykolaiv was a battle which started on the night of 26 February 2022, as part of the Southern Ukraine offensive during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It ended in Russian forces being repulsed from the city proper in March, and by April all but a few of its surrounding villages were under Ukrainian control.

Mykolaiv is a strategically important shipbuilding city on the Black Sea and on 4 March was "seen as the next key stepping-stone for Russian forces on the road to Odessa."[12] The city contains the only permanent bridge across the Southern Bug River.[13]

Battle

February

During the afternoon hours of 26 February 2022, 12 Russian tanks managed to break through in Kakhovka on the Dnieper and began heading towards Mykolaiv.[14] Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv Oblast, stated that the city had 5 hours to prepare for encirclement and urged citizens to prepare barricades and volunteer to defend the city.[15][16] Artillery and other arms had also been prepared.[17]

By around 18:52, tanks were in the outskirts of the city and the mayor ordered citizens to stay at home and as far away from windows as possible.[18] Shortly after, troops entered the city and a battle on the Southern Bug erupted around ten minutes later.[19] According to some reports, tanks "passed through the city".[20] Russian forces had also taken over the Mykolaiv Zoo.[21]

After roughly three hours of fighting, Russian forces were driven away by Ukrainian forces, and while some Russian tanks reportedly bypassed the city, fighting continued.[22] Extensive fighting was recorded in Korabel'nyy Raion [uk], on 6th Slobidska Street, and on Central Avenue.[23]

By the early morning of 27 February, Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian forces were fully driven away from the city, with Kim posting on Telegram, "Mykolaiv is ours! Glory to Ukraine!" (Миколаїв наш! Слава Україні[!]).[24] Some Russian soldiers were captured. The city was extensively damaged.[25][26][27]

On 28 February, Russian troops advanced from Kherson towards Mykolaiv, reaching the city's outskirts and launching an assault at 11:00 a.m. local time.[28][29]

March

Destroyed residential buildings in Mykolaiv.
Rocket from a multiple rocket launcher in Mykolaiv, 9 March
Mykolaiv Regional State Administration after Russian rocket strike on 29 March

On 1 March, according to Ukrainian officials, a Russian column near the city of Bashtanka, just north of Mykolaiv, was defeated by Ukrainian forces.[30][31]

On 2 March, another Russian column was defeated at the city of Voznesensk, about 80 km north of Mykolaiv, by Ukrainian regular army troops, members of the Territorial Defense force, and local volunteers.[32]

The Ukrainian Navy scuttled their only frigate and the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, Hetman Sahaidachny, in the port of Mykolaiv on or before 3 March. On that day, a photo was published showing the frigate partially sunk in port.[33][8]

On 4 March, the Ukrainian Defence Minister confirmed that Hetman Sahaidachny had been scuttled to prevent its capture by the Russian forces.[34][35] Kim later announced that Russian troops were driven out of the city but were counterattacking. Ukrainian soldiers recaptured Kulbakino Air Base.[36] Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said that Russian troops were attacking the city from the north, east and south. Ukrainian troops held a single swing bridge spanning the Southern Bug, the easiest route for Russian forces to reach the port of Odessa.[37] Russian forces were later forced to retreat back beyond the city limits.[38]

On 7 March, ten Ukrainian soldiers were killed and dozens of others were wounded in a Russian airstrike on the barracks of the 79th Air Assault Brigade at 05:15.[39][6] Kim later stated that Ukrainian forces had recaptured Mykolaiv International Airport and civilians could now leave the city.[40] At 05:00 Russian troops began shelling the city and a Kalibr cruise missile hit a military barracks, killing eight soldiers and wounding 19, while another eight were missing. Heavy clashes took place to the east of the city and a tank battle broke out at the airport. The shelling stopped around the evening, with Ukrainian forces declaring they had repelled the Russian assault.[38]

Kim claimed on 11 March that Ukrainian forces had pushed Russian troops back to the east by 15 kilometres (9.3 mi)–20 kilometres (12 mi) and had also surrounded some units who were negotiating for a surrender. He said that the Russian force that attacked the city was relatively weak, but warned that a stronger one could easily capture the city. The head doctor of a local hospital, Alexander Dimyanov, said that 250 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians had been wounded during the battle, of which 12 died.[9] Olga Dierugina, the director of the forensic institute of Mykolaiv, told Agence France-Presse that their morgue had received 120 bodies during the battle, including 80 soldiers and 30 civilians. Some of the dead also included Russian soldiers.[41]

A cancer hospital and an eye clinic were bombed on 12 March. On 13 March, Kim stated that a gas turbine factory had been bombed by the Russians. He later said that nine people had been killed in the attack.[42] Russian forces still controlled villages 20 kilometres (12 mi) away, with only the Southern Bug River keeping the city from being encircled. Senkevich told The Guardian that the civilians were being evacuated through the road leading to Odessa, and about 250,000 had been evacuated.[11]

Civilians stacked various parts of the city streets with tires during the battle, in order to burn them using molotov cocktails and attempt to slow down Russian troops in case they entered the city while Ukrainian troops targeted their tanks.[43][44] The governor of Mykolaiv Oblast, Vitaliy Kim, meanwhile organized the defenses and motivated people through videos he posted on social media. Sgt. Ruslan Khoda, who commanded the Ukrainian forces defending the airport, stated that Russian troops seemed to be mounting probing attacks to test vulnerabilities in their defenses and they were often preceded by surveillance drones. Maj. Gen. Dmitry Marchenko, who was leading the city's defense, stated that Ukrainian forces were trying to break the morale of Russian troops by repeatedly shelling them.[6]

On 15 March, Kim claimed that Ukrainian forces had pushed back Russian forces from the city center and restored the security situation.[45]

According to a report by The New York Times on 16 March, 132 bodies were housed at the city's morgue.[6]

On 18 March, Ukrainian forces reportedly broke through Russian lines at Mykolaiv, pushing them back into the Kherson raion.[46]

On 18 March, two Russian Kalibr missiles, fired from nearby Kherson, struck a Ukrainian army barracks of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade (headquartered in Mykolaiv), used to train local soldiers, located in the northern suburbs of Mykolaiv.[7] The attack occurred during the night, while the soldiers were asleep in their bunks. Not enough time was available to sound the alarm, as the missiles were fired from too close in the vicinity of Kherson.[47]

Initially, 45 Ukrainian soldiers were reported killed, with the death toll expected to rise.[48][49] The Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that the city morgue and Ukrainian soldiers stated that at least 80 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.[50] It is presumed nearly all 200 soldiers were killed, as only one survivor was pulled from the rubble the next day and temperatures reached below 6 °C (43 °F) during the night.[47]

On 29 March, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and local authorities said a Russian missile strike had hit the regional administration's headquarters in Mykolaiv. At least 35 people had been killed[51] and at least 33 injured.[52][53]

April

On 8 April, Ukraine claimed that "virtually no" Russian forces remained in the Mykolaiv region.[54] However, as of 16 April, Russian forces still continue in shelling of the city.[55]

In mid April, the city lost its main water supply - this was a result of damages to the pipeline bringing fresh water from the Dnipro. Subsequently the people in Mykolaiv have been forced to rely on water from rivers and streams as well as donations from neighbouring towns and cities. Regional military administration Vitalii Kim promised to get water supply back to half capacity in the following days: using wells, water purification equipment as well as desalination plants. Shelling and cruise missile attacks continue although the city remains in Ukrainian control.[56]

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/09/mykolaiv-nervous-russia-military-moves-south/
  2. ^ "Practically no invaders left in Mykolayiv region – head of administration". www.ukrinform.net. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Russian forces again shell Mykolaiv using Smerch MLRS". ukrinform.net. 26 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Schwirtz, Michael (6 March 2022). "Proud Band of Ukrainian Troops Holds Russian Assault at Bay — for Now". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  5. ^ a b "As result of morning shelling of Mykolaiv, eight servicemen killed, eight missing – local authorities". interfax-Ukraine. 7 March 2022. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e Michael Schwirtz (16 March 2022). "'I'm Not Scared of Anything': Death and Defiance in a Besieged Ukrainian City". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "Russian Rocket Attack Turns Ukrainian Marine Base to Rubble, Killing Dozens". MSN. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  8. ^ a b "The Ukrainian Navy's Flagship Appears To Have Been Scuttled". The Drive. 3 March 2022. Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  9. ^ a b Andrew Harding (12 March 2022). "Battle for Mykolaiv: 'We are winning this fight, but not this war'". BBC. Archived from the original on 14 March 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  10. ^ Local mayor says 80 civilians killed in Ukraine’s Mykolayiv since start of war
  11. ^ a b Nataliya Gumenyuk (14 March 2022). "In Mykolaiv, a city awaiting a siege, it's clear that all Ukrainians are now people of war". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
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  13. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 4". Institute for the Study of War. 4 March 2022. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Миколаїв готується до кругової оборони: до міста прориваються 12 танків". 24tv (in Ukrainian). 24-Канал. 26 February 2022. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
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  51. ^ "Death toll rises to 35 from strike on government building in Ukraine's Mykolaiv, governor says". Reuters. 2 April 2022.
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  55. ^ "Ukraine says five killed in shelling in city of Mykolaiv". reuters.com. 16 April 2022.
  56. ^ "People in Mykolaiv forced to use water from the river because of damaged pipeline". CNN. 17 April 2022.
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