Battle of Volnovakha

engagement during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Battle of Volnovakha
Part of the Eastern Ukraine offensive of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Date25 February – 12 March 2022 (2 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Status Russian victory
Belligerents
 Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Vladimir Zhoga 
Artem Zhoga
Pavel Sbytov 
Units involved

Donetsk People's Republic DPR Armed Forces

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Battle of Volnovakha was a military engagement which lasted from 25 February 2022 until 12 March 2022, as part of the Eastern Ukraine offensive during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian and Donetsian forces engaged Ukrainian forces at the small city of Volnovakha in Donetsk Oblast, which is located close to the Ukrainian-DPR border.

The battle was spearheaded by DPR forces and led to the widespread destruction of the town and heavy casualties on both sides.[1]

Battle

On 25 February, the second day of the invasion, Russian forces shelled Volnovakha, hitting civilian areas.[2] The Guardian wrote that Russian bombing of Volnovakha resembled tactics that Russia had previously used on civilian targets in Syria.[3] Ukrainian officials reported that Volnovakha was on the verge of humanitarian crisis by February 28, and was almost destroyed by March 1, with nearly 90% of its buildings either damaged or destroyed.[1][4][5] The city was also cut off from food, water, and electricity.[6] Following the bombardment, bodies laid uncollected in the streets, according to local MP Dmytro Lubinets.[3]

By 1 March, nearly 500 civilians were evacuated from Volnovakha by Ukrainian authorities.[7]

On 4 March, a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 was shot down over Volnovakha.[8] A Russian Mil Mi-8 helicopter was later shot down as it approached the wreck of the Su-25.[9]

On 5 March, DPR authorities announced that Colonel Vladimir "Voha" Zhoga, the commander of Sparta Battalion and a close confidant of Arsen Pavlov, was killed in action at Volnovakha.[10][11][12] Denis Pushilin, the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic, posthumously awarded Zhoga with the award Hero of the Donetsk People's Republic, while Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, posthumously awarded him the title of Hero of the Russian Federation.[13][14] Artem Zhoga, his father and chief of staff, succeeded him as commander of Sparta Battalion.[15]

On 7 March, Ukrainian and Russian forces agreed to the establishment of a demilitarized humanitarian corridor through Volnovakha and the nearby city of Mariupol, which had been under siege since 24 February, in order to evacuate civilians from the two cities; however, Russian forces allegedly violated the demilitarization zone.[16]

On 11 March, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that DPR forces had captured Volnovakha.[17] Videos later posted on social media showed Russian soldiers and vehicles stationed in the city, as well as abandoned Ukrainian tanks.[18]

On 12 March, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk Oblast, stated that Russian forces has completely destroyed Volnovakha and that the city "effectively ceased to exist", but that fighting continued.[19][20] The Associated Press confirmed that the city had been captured by pro-Russian separatists and much of it had been destroyed in the fighting.[21] Later, Ukrainian officials reported that Captain Pavel Sbytov [uk], the commander of the Ukrainian 503rd Naval Infantry Brigade, was killed in battle.[22]

References

  1. ^ a b Graham-Harrison, Emma (6 March 2022). "'Nowhere to go and nowhere to go back to': Life under fire in Ukraine". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 March 2022. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  2. ^ Yaroslav Trofimov,Ukraine, Russia Agreement on Evacuating Mariupol Civilians Collapses Archived 2022-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, Wall Street Journal (March 5, 2022).<nowiki>
  3. ^ a b Emma Graham-Harrison & Isobel Koshiw, '90% of houses are damaged': Russia's Syria-honed tactics lay waste Ukraine towns Archived 2022-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian (March 4, 2022).
  4. ^ "Russian invasion update: Volnovakha town on verge of humanitarian catastrophe". www.ukrinform.net. Archived from the original on 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  5. ^ "Head of Donetsk Regional State Administration: Volnovakha almost destroyed". Interfax-Ukraine. Archived from the original on 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  6. ^ Diana Hodali, Mariupol and Volnovakha: Besieged cities appeal for help Archived 2022-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, Deutsche Welle (March 5, 2022).
  7. ^ "Almost 500 people evacuated from Volnovakha to safe place". www.ukrinform.net. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  8. ^ "Russian Forces Now Occupy Europe's Largest Nuclear Plant In Ukraine". The Drive. 4 March 2022. Archived from the original on 4 March 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2022. Earlier today, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published a photo of the wreckage of a Russian Aerospace Forces Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack aircraft, a type that has apparently already seen extensive use with both sides during the conflict. Unconfirmed reports suggest that a Russian Mi-8 helicopter that may have arrived on the scene of the crash to assist was in turn brought down by Ukrainian air defenses. At this stage, this is only speculation, however.
  9. ^ "Гелікоптер, який хотів евакуювати збитого російського пілота теж знищили". Ukrainian MOD (in Ukrainian). 4 March 2022. Archived from the original on 13 March 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Controlling the narrative: Russia tightens grip on media amid war". www.aljazeera.com. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  11. ^ "Глава ДНР сообщил о гибели полковника Владимира Жога". 1news.az (in Russian). 5 March 2022. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Leader of so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" killed in action near Volnovakha". Ukrayinska Pravda. 5 March 2022. Archived from the original on 2022-03-06. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  13. ^ "Ukrainian Forces have Killed the Commander of the Sparta Battalion - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency". www.novinite.com. Archived from the original on 2022-03-07. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  14. ^ "Путин присвоил звание Героя России посмертно командиру батальону "Спарта" Владимиру Жоге". tass.ru (in Russian). 6 March 2022. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  15. ^ "«Спарту» возглавил Артем Жога — отец убитого нацистами Героя ДНР". EADaily (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2022-03-06. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  16. ^ "Russia announces temporary ceasefire in two Ukrainian cities". The Independent. 2022-03-07. Archived from the original on 2022-03-08. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  17. ^ "Russian-backed separatists capture Ukraine's Volnovakha - RIA". Reuters. 2022-03-11. Archived from the original on 2022-03-14. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  18. ^ Tim Lister (2022-03-11). "Evidence indicates Volnovakha in eastern Ukraine has fallen to Russian-backed forces". CNN. Archived from the original on 2022-03-14. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  19. ^ "Eastern Ukrainian town of Volnovakha destroyed after Russia invasion, local governor says". Reuters. March 12, 2022. Archived from the original on March 13, 2022. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  20. ^ Richard Spencer (March 13, 2022). "Putin wipes out entire Ukrainian city of Volnovakha". The Times. Archived from the original on March 13, 2022. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  21. ^ "Heavy fighting leaves much of Volnovakha in ruins". Associated Press. Euronews. March 12, 2022. Archived from the original on March 13, 2022. Retrieved March 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "Ukrainian marine commander killed fighting Russian invaders". Newsweek. 2022-03-12. Archived from the original on 2022-03-13. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
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