Day of liberation of Mariupol from Russian occupants: how the operation took place 9 years ago

Alina MilsentLife
Mariupol before the war and after the full-scale Russian invasion

Mariupol has been a strategic target for Russia since 2014. Back then, separatists and Russian mercenaries seized the city council building and key administrative facilities, blocked the streets, and set up a "fortified district". The large industrial centre and key port played a special role in the implementation of Putin's delusional Novorossia project.

Having unsuccessfully attempted to capture the city nine years ago, the Russian army literally destroyed Mariupol in the first months of the full-scale invasion. Soon, the world will see a new, final de-occupation of the city from the Russian invaders, but for now, OBOZREVATEL offers to recall how the liberation operation took place on June 13, 2014.

After occupying parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Russian mercenaries set their sights on Mariupol. As always, the Kremlin dictator's plans were grandiose in their impracticability: the goal was to capture Mariupol as an important point of direct sea connection with the annexed Crimea.

In April 2014, the city came under the control of separatists. The Ukrainian military managed to hold only the Mariupol airfield. On May 9, the 72nd Brigade destroyed the first barricades set up by the separatists and stormed into the city.

The terrorists were armed and resisted, attacking the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other law enforcement facilities. Residential areas were shelled, houses were burning and fires were spreading. On May 10, in order to prevent civilian casualties, the National Guard was ordered to temporarily withdraw from the city.

A new active phase of liberation began at dawn on June 13, 2014. Assault groups of Azov fighters cleared the militants' headquarters.

The operation involved:

  • Two companies of the Dnipro-1 battalion;
  • the 1st Brigade of the National Guard;
  • soldiers of the 79th separate airmobile brigade.

Local activists also helped. Terrorists mined the area around the bank, and an Azov soldier exploded on one of the mines.

The advance was fast enough. During several hours of fighting, key militant strongholds were eliminated. Their equipment was destroyed. The Ukrainians managed to regain control of all the seized buildings, including the city council building.

Up to a hundred militants opposed the ATO forces. Dozens of criminals were detained and several terrorists were killed.

The Shyrokyne operation followed the liberation of Mariupol. Azov fighters managed to push the front line away from Mariupol. The city became safe, and Russian mercenaries were unable to continue their constant shelling.

On January 24, 2015, the Russians shelled the residential neighbourhood of Skhidnyi with "grads", killing 30 people and injuring more than a hundred.

And on February 24, 2022, the most tragic period in the history of Mariupol began. The battle for the city began after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and lasted until May 20, 2022. In total, the defence of Mariupol lasted 86 days, 82 of which were spent in complete encirclement.

As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, the Armed Forces continue to liberate settlements. On 10 and 11 June 2023, the Ukrainian Defence Forces conducted successful counter-offensives in three frontline areas.

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