Battle of Bucha

engagement during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Battle of Bucha
Part of the Kyiv offensive (2022) and 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Chaiky, Bucha Raion, 3 March 2022 (1).jpg
Date27 February – 14 March 2022 (2 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Status

Russian victory

  • Russian forces capture Bucha[1]
  • Mass civilian exodus
Belligerents
 Russia  Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Unknown
Units involved

 Russian Armed Forces

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

Irregular civilian volunteers (militia)
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
2 civilians killed, 4 injured[2]

The Battle of Bucha was a battle for control over the city of Bucha between the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. As part of the Kyiv offensive (2022), the Russian forces sought control over Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel in order to encircle and besiege the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv from the west.[3][4] Due to the intensity of the Kyiv offensive, the Kyiv Oblast State Administration named Bucha, along with Irpin, Hostomel, Highway M06, and Vyshhorod as the most dangerous places in the Kyiv Oblast.[5]

Prelude

In the beginning of the invasion, north of Bucha in the town of Hostomel, Russian forces captured the Hostomel Airport and established a foothold in the town. Although the Ukrainian military contested the Russian occupation in Hostomel, Russian forces began to move south to capture Bucha and the nearby city of Irpin with the goal of encircling Kyiv.[3][4]

Prior to the battle, on 25 February 2022, it was reported that Russian soldiers seized in apartment complex in or near Bucha and evicted the residents before retreating into the forests.[6][7]

Battle

27–28 February 2022

On 27 February, Ukrainian forces reported that Russian ground forces had advanced into Bucha, thus beginning the battle for the city. These forces reportedly include tanks, Russian VDV, engineering and bridging units, and reserves from the 36th Combined Arms Army. Russian artilley bombarded the city, damaging several houses, buildings, and other infrastructures in the process. Residents reported losing access to water, gas, and electricity due to the shelling.[8][9] The Russian forces later managed to breakthrough the city and elements of it advanced towards the neighboring city of Irpin, thus also initiating the Battle of Irpin.[4][9][10] A resident recorded footage of Russian forces attacking the city's Afghan soldier monument and a nearby passing civilian motorist, possibly mistaking them for enemy vehicles. One man was killed and another was wounded from the attack.[11][12]

The Ukrainian forces used rocket and artillery bombardments and airstrikes to halt the Russian advances.[13] The State Special Communications Service of Ukraine reported that one of these artillery strikes destroyed a convoy of Russian armored vehicles they designated as "Group V" (due to the letter "V" marked on the vehicles) and that over 100 units of equipment were destroyed.[14][15] Ukrainian forces also destroyed a bridge connecting Bucha and Irpin to prevent more Russian ground forces from entering Irpin.[12]

Ukrainian advisor Oleksiy Arestovych claimed that the residents of Bucha have also joined the fight, throwing Molotov cocktails at Russian armored vehicles and paratroopers. Anton Herashchenko reported that the civilians attacked a Russian column of 30 armored vehicles, setting one or two of them on fire.[13][16][17]

At some point during the day, Ukrainian authorities warned the residents of Bucha not to get on buses that were "evacuating" out of the city, as they have not initiated any evacuation. Ukrainian authorities claimed that it was a ruse employed by the Russian forces to trail behind the fully loaded buses in order to gain entry into Kyiv, using the civilians as human shields.[18][19] This warning was also reported in Irpin on the same day.[20]

On 28 February 2022, Ukrainian forces engaged and destroyed a Russian armor column. The city's mayor, Anatoliy Fedoruk, published a selfie video showing the smoldering wreckage. He claims there were no Ukrainian civilian or military casualties from the attack.[21]

1–5 March 2022

The fighting subsided enough that residents and journalists were able to walk out into the streets and photograph destroyed or abandoned Russian vehicles and equipment. These photos were circulated through Ukrainian news outlets, whom some described Bucha as a "graveyard" for the destroyed Russian equipment.[22][23][24][25]

On 2 March 2022, Ukrainian forces began sending humanitarian aid towards Bucha.[26]

On 3 March 2022, the Kyiv Oblast State Administration announced more humanitarian aid were heading towards Bucha and Irpin, as well evacuations commencing in both cities. More than 1500 women and children were reported to have evacuated by train and another 250 were evacuated by bus.[27][28] These evacuations however were complicated by the railway tracks in some routes getting destroyed and ongoing skirmishes between Ukrainian and Russian forces.[29]

Ukrainian Ground Forces later announced that Bucha has been "liberated"; posting a video on social media of Ukrainian soldiers raising a Ukrainian flag near the city council building.[30][31][32][33] Additionally, Ukrainian emergency teams restored electricity in the city.[30][31] Russian forces however continued to fight inside the city, but were reported to be repulsed and pushed back into the outskirts of the city by Ukrainian forces.[34][35]

On 4 March 2022, Anatoliy Fedoruk confirmed that the city remains under Ukrainian control despite the Russian forces continuously probing the defenses.[36] On 5 March 2022, Russian forces continued to attack Bucha but were continuously repulsed.[37]

6–10 March 2022

On 6 March 2022, the Russian forces intensified their shelling of the city, with civilian casualties reported. The city council reported that civilians have taken shelter in basements and that the city were not able to receive humanitarian aid due to the constant artillery bombardments.[38][39] A Ukrainian official, Oleksiy Arestovych, stated that Russian forces had captured Bucha and Hostomel on 5 March, and were not allowing civilians to evacuate, despite alleged injuries to children.[40] Eight civilians were killed according to Markushin.[41] Residents trapped under the Russian occupation were reported having no access to food, water, gas, and electricity and witnessing Russian soldiers killing civilians trying to flee the city.[42]

On 8 March 2022, Anatoliy Fedoruk reported that Ukrainian forces were still fighting for control over Bucha and have managed to regain some territories back. However, he also reported that Russian forces control all of the main highways, have intensified their shelling, and would not allow residents to leave their homes as they would get shot in the streets. Anatoliy described the situation of the city as being "held hostage" by the Russian forces.[43][44][45] Other reports indicated Russian forces allowed only a limited amount of time for citizens to go outside; either to remove dead bodies from the street or to cook food in the yard. Ukrainians were unable to access electricity due to the Russian forces controlling the city's substations.[46]

On 9 March 2022, Ukrainian forces initiated a massive evacuation across the Kyiv Oblast, including Bucha. Up to 20,000 civilians have been evacuated from the Kyiv region and the evacuation continued into 10 March during its announcement.[47] The Kyiv Oblast State Administration described the situation in Bucha as "tense" amidst the fighting and evacuation.[48]

The town was reported captured by Russian forces as of 14 March 2022.[1]

References

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    Mass graves return in war-torn cities Archived 2022-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
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