Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia Oblast

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Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia Oblast
Part of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Zaporizhia in Ukraine.svg
Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Ukraine. Russia occupy territories south of the river Dnipro.
Date24 February 2022–present
(2 months, 3 weeks and 3 days)
LocationZaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine

The Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia Oblast is an ongoing military occupation, which began on 24 February, 2022, as Russian forces invaded Ukraine and began capturing parts of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. On 26 February, the city of Berdiansk came under Russian control, followed by the Russian victory at Melitopol on 1 March. Russian forces also laid siege and captured the city of Enerhodar, which is home to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which came under Russian control on 4 March.



On 26 February 2022, Russian troops captured the Port of Berdiansk and the Berdiansk Airport.[1][2] By the following day, the Russian military had taken full control of the city.[3][4]

Beginning on 14 March,[5] the port was used as a logistics hub by the Russians to support their offensive in southern Ukraine and in particular the siege of Mariupol. On 21 March, Russian media Zvezda reported on the arrival of amphibious transports in Berdiansk. A Russian navy officer described it as "a landmark event that will open logistical possibilities to the Black Sea Navy".[6]

On 24 March, Ukrainian forces launched an airstrike against the Alligator-class landing ship Saratov, which was destroyed and sunk, and one of the two Ropucha-class landing ships took damage but was able to leave the port.[7][8] At the time, it was the heaviest naval loss suffered by Russia during the invasion, and one of Ukraine's most significant successes.[9][10]


Ivan Fedorov
De jure, Ukrainian-recognised Mayor of Melitopol
Yevhen Balytskyi
De facto, Russian-installed Mayor of Melitopol

On 1 March 2022, shortly after the city's capture, citizens of Melitopol held a street protest against the military occupation of the city. The protestors marched and used their bodies to block a convoy of Russian military vehicles.[11][12]

On 10 March, the director of the Melitopol Museum of Local History, Leila Ibragimova, was arrested at her home by Russian forces, and was detained in an unknown location.[13] One day later, Melitopol's mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was abducted by Russian troops for refusing to cooperate with them and continuing to fly a Ukrainian flag in his office.[14] Russian authorities did not comment on Fedorov's disappearance, but the prosecutor's office of the Russian-backed self-proclaimed breakaway state (located within Ukraine) Luhansk People's Republic accused him of "terrorist activities".[15]

On 12 March, the Zaporizhzhia Oblast regional administration stated that former councillor and member of Opposition Bloc,[16] Halyna Danylchenko, was appointed as acting mayor.[17] Former People's Deputy of Ukraine Yevhen Balytskyi was alleged to be de facto in control of the city's government by the Security Service of Ukraine.[18][19] Meanwhile, hundreds of people took part in a protest outside Melitopol city hall to demand the release of Fedorov.[15] Olga Gaysumova, head of the non-governmental organization "Conscientious Society of Melitopol" and the organizer of local protests against Russian forces, was arrested.[20] On 13 March, the Melitopol City Council declared that, "The occupying troops of the Russian Federation are trying to illegally create an occupation administration of the city of Melitopol."[16] It appealed to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova, to launch a pre-trial investigation into Danylchenko and her party Opposition Bloc for treason.[16] Ukrayinska Pravda reported that the Russian military had abducted Melitopol's District Council Chairman Serhiy Priyma and had tried to abduct City Council Secretary Roman Romanov.[21] Meanwhile, Russian military vehicles were seen announcing via loudspeakers that rallies and demonstrations had been prohibited and that a curfew was imposed from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.[22] On 14 March Ukrayinska Pravda reported that Russian forces had prevented new protests by blocking of the central square of Melitopol.[23] It also said "Two activists were abducted and taken away in an unknown direction."[23]

On 16 March, Fedorov was freed from captivity. Some Ukrainian officials said he was freed in a "special operation".[24][25][26] Zelenskyy's press aide Daria Zarivna however later said he was exchanged for nine Russian conscripts captured by Ukrainian forces.[27]

On 23 March 2022, Mayor Fedorov reported that the city was experiencing problems with food, medications, and fuel supplies, while the Russian military was seizing businesses, intimidating the local population, and holding several journalists in custody.[28] On 22 April, Fedorov said that over 100 Russian soldiers had been killed by partisans during the occupation of the city.[29]


On 4 March, the city of Enerhodar and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant came under a Russian military occupation.

Oleksandr Starukh, the governor of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, stated on 5 March that Russian forces had left the city after looting it and the situation in the city was completely under control of local authorities. However, Orlov denied the report and stated that Russian forces still occupied the perimeter of the city and the power plant, with local authorities still managing the city.[30] The Ukrainian military administration for the southeast confirmed on 7 March that Enerhodar was under control of Russian forces.[31]

On 6 March, the IAEA released a statement saying that Russian forces were interfering in the operations of the power plant, stating that "any action of plant management—including measures related to the technical operation of the six reactor units—requires prior approval by the Russian commander," and further stating that "Russian forces at the site have switched off some mobile networks and the internet so that reliable information from the site cannot be obtained through the normal channels of communication".[32] On 9 March, Herman Galushchenko, Energy Minister of Ukraine, claimed that Russian forces were holding the workers at the power plant hostage and had forced several to make propaganda videos.[33]

Control of cities in the Oblast

Name Pop. Raion Held by As of More information
Berdiansk 107,928 Berdiansk  Russia[34] 27 February 2022 See Berdiansk port attack
Captured by  Russia 27 February 2022.
Bilmak 6,507 Polohy  Russia[35][36] 15 March 2022 Captured by  Russia 14 March 2022.
Chernihivka 5,645 Berdiansk  Russia[35] 17 March 2022 Captured by  Russia 14 March 2022.
Enerhodar 52,887 Vasylivka  Russia[37] 4 March 2022 See Battle of Enerhodar
Captured by  Russia 4 March 2022.
Huliaipole 13,070 Polohy  Ukraine[38] 5 May 2022 Fighting taking place around it as of 5 May 2022[39][40]
Melitopol 150,768 Melitopol  Russia[41] 24 February 2022 See Battle of Melitopol
Captured by  Russia 1 March 2022.
Mykhailivka 11,694 Vasylivka  Russia[42] 13 May 2022
Myrne [uk] 872 Polohy  Russia[43][44] 24 April 2022
Orikhiv 14,136 Polohy  Ukraine[45] 30 March 2022 Partially surrounded by Russian forces as of 20 April 2022[46]
Polohy 18,396 Polohy  Russia[47][45] 30 March 2022 Captured by  Russia 7 March 2022.
Rozivka 3,022 Polohy  Donetsk PR[48] 30 April 2022
Tokmak 30,132 Polohy  Russia[47] 7 March 2022 Captured by  Russia 7 March 2022.
Vasylivka 12,771 Vasylivka  Russia[47] 7 March 2022 Captured by  Russia 7 March 2022.
Zaporizhzhia 722,713 Zaporizhzhia  Ukraine 1 April 2022

See also


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