10 years ago, the "Cyborgs" took the first battle for Donetsk airport: how it was

Fighting for Donetsk airport

Exactly ten years ago, on the night of May 26, 2014, the first battle for control of Donetsk airport began. In the course of this confrontation, the assault groups of Russian forces were forced to retreat, suffering significant casualties.

After the battle on May 26, the militants refrained from activity for several months and did not attempt to storm the airport, but in the fall of 2014, hostilities in the area of Donetsk airport resumed on a much larger scale. You can learn more about the events of those times in the OBOZ.UA article.

Thus, on the night of May 25-26, 2014, a group of pro-Russian militants tried to take control of the airport, which had been suspended on May 6 of the same year.

During the second attack, Russian militants occupied part of the airport building and issued an ultimatum demanding that Ukrainian forces holding positions in the old terminal surrender and lay down their arms.

At 7:00 a.m., the airport announced a temporary suspension of flight operations. Later, the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine issued changes to flight safety and navigation information, banning flights to Donetsk until 18:00 on May 26.

10 years ago, the ''Cyborgs'' took the first battle for Donetsk airport: how it was

The Ukrainian government then also issued an ultimatum to the militants to vacate the seized buildings, but neither side was willing to compromise, and the conflict escalated into a military clash.

The NSDC media center announced that army special forces units, supported by combat aircraft, had attacked terrorists who were trying to seize Donetsk International Airport. Assault and army aviation were involved, as well as airborne troops.

As a result of an effective special operation, ATO forces destroyed a third of the separatist Vostok battalion. Panic broke out among the militants, while Ukrainian military units successfully took up positions around the airport.

No Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action. According to the General Staff, three soldiers were wounded. The combat resistance from Ukrainian forces was unexpected for the militants, as in previous similar situations, Ukrainian troops retreated under pressure from civilians.

In total, soldiers from the 95th and 79th airborne brigades, soldiers from the 3rd Kirovohrad Special Forces regiment and the Dnipro-1 battalion, artillery and tankers from the 93rd brigade, volunteers from the Right Sector and OUN battalion, as well as soldiers from other military units, took part in the fighting at the airport and the nearby Pisky at various times.

On the evening of January 20, 2015, pro-Russian militants continued their assault on the airport and blew up the new terminal of Donetsk airport, turning what was once one of the country's largest aviation hubs into ruins. The Ukrainian military leadership decided to withdraw Ukrainian soldiers, and on January 21-22, the last (as it was believed at the time) surviving military personnel left the destroyed terminal.

On January 23, 2015, after the destruction of the new terminal, the last group left the territory of Donetsk airport from the Pozharka position, which was located between the new terminal and the control tower. However, few people knew at the time that Adam's group continued to defend the fire station for another 2 days.

During the confrontation, Donetsk airport became a symbol of steadfastness. The airport defenders, nicknamed "cyborgs," defended the airport for 244 days.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told the story of DAP cyborg Vitaliy Bokhonko, who gave his life for Ukraine. He volunteered to defend the country in 2014 and died in a hospital on July 29, 2022, after being seriously wounded in the battles near Zaitseve in Donetsk region.

Every year on January 20, Ukraine honors the memory and feat of the soldiers who held the international airport in Donetsk for 242 days at the cost of extraordinary efforts. More than 100 Ukrainian heroes were killed in the battle for the airport and nearly 500 others were wounded.

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