During the rising unrest in Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the city of Mariupol, in Donetsk Oblast, saw skirmishes break out between Ukrainian government forces, local police, separatist militants affiliated with the Donetsk People's Republic. Government forces withdrew from Mariupol on 9 May 2014 after heavy fighting left the city's police headquarters gutted by fire. These forces maintained checkpoints outside the city. Intervention by Metinvest steelworkers on 15 May 2014 led to the removal of barricades from the city centre, and the resumption of patrols by local police. Separatists continued to operate a headquarters in another part of the city until their positions were overrun in a government offensive on 13 June 2014.
Mariupol is the second-largest city in the Donetsk Oblast, and has experienced sporadic unrest since March 2014. Pro-Russian and anti-government groups had first occupied the city council building on 18 March 2014.The first violent incident had occurred during the night on 16 April 2014, when about 300 pro-Russian and anti-government protesters attacked a Ukrainian military unit in Mariupol, throwing petrol bombs. Internal Affairs minister Arsen Avakov said that troops were forced to open fire, resulting in the killing of three of the attackers.
Ukrainian government forces claimed they "liberated" Mariupol city council on 24 April 2014, though this was heavily disputed by anti-government demonstrators, and a BBC report said that there was "no sign" of the army.The building changed hands multiple times thereafter, but was captured by the army on 8 May.
A violent clash involving armoured personnel carriers took place at the Mariupol police headquarters on Victory Day, 9 May 2014. The Ukrainian government said it sent in the APCs in response to an attempt by militant separatists to storm the building.According to the Internal Affairs Ministry, the assault on the station involved 60 separatists armed with automatic weapons. Some local policemen reportedly helped the militants during the takeover and later clashed with Internal Troops who fired on the building with mounted heavy machine guns atop the APCs.
The Ukrainian government said its contingent included police, as well as an Omega unit of the National Guard.Pro-Russian protesters attempted to stop the advance, but were unsuccessful. Ukrainian security forces attacked the police headquarters in an attempt to recapture it from militants, and during the assault the building caught fire. According to Internal Affairs minister Arsen Avakov, a separatist sniper fired from the upper floors of a hospital at Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Avakov said that the counterattack resulted in the deaths of twenty separatists, and the capture of four, while the rest dispersed. He referred to the separatist militants as "terrorists", and warned that "annihilation" would be Ukraine's answer to future acts of terrorism.
Avakov's account of what happened was contested by some Mariupol residents, who spoke shortly after the incident with reporters from The New York Times , the BBC, and The Independent .The residents (many of whom showed their Ukrainian passports to prove they were not from Russia ) said that the government had attacked local police who were sympathetic to protesters. One version of events, put forward by a group of residents cited by The New York Times, was that the clash was sparked by Mariupol police rebelling against a new police chief sent by the interim government in Kiev. The BBC report included a video showing pro-Russian activists trying unsuccessfully to stop armoured vehicles from moving into the city.
After the fighting the Ukrainian forces withdrew from the city, leaving it fully under control of pro-Russian protesters. The military retained control over checkpoints surrounding the city.The Ukrainian government said that its forces withdrew "to avoid further aggravation". The troops moving out of the city shot at unarmed civilians, according to The Guardian . Anna Neistat from Human Rights Watch stated "my preliminary findings suggest that Ukrainian units might indeed have used excessive force near the drama theater, which resulted in deaths and injuries of some unarmed people" and urged a full, thorough investigation.
One armoured personnel carrier was captured by pro-Russian protesters. After the clashes, the protesters built barricades on roads in the city centre.Overnight, the city administration building was set ablaze and three gun shops were looted. The next day, insurgents set alight the captured armoured vehicle, causing the ammunition inside to explode. Individuals also threw petrol bombs at the city prosecutor's office and a military building, setting them on fire. On 11 May 2014, eight polling places were set up in Mariupol for the DPR's referendum on self-rule, with queues hundreds of metres long.
Metinvest in conjunction with owners Rinat Akhmetov and Vadim Novinsky announced on 11 May 2014 that the company would be forming citywide militia groups from local steelworkers to work with police. The squads were intended to "protect civilians from looters and criminals operating in the city". Akhmetov urged the Ukrainian government to refrain from sending its forces to the city and to start negotiations with the insurgents.
An agreement initiated by Metinvest was signed on 15 May by steel plant directors, police and community leaders, and a representative of the Donetsk People's Republic separatists.Steelworkers and security guards from Metinvest, along with local police, began joint patrols in the city of Mariupol. Associated Press reported that these groups forced the insurgents out of the buildings that they had been occupying. Although a DPR representative was party to the deal which led to this vacation of buildings by the insurgents, a local commander of those insurgents who had been occupying the building said that "someone is trying to sow discord among us, someone has signed something, but we will continue our fight", and that "everyone ran away". Steelworkers could be seen removing barricades from the city centre, and also cleaning up the burnt city administration building. By the morning of 16 May 2014, Associated Press journalists could find no trace of the insurgents in Mariupol city centre. On 16 May, however, it seemed that separatists were not banished from the city, as reporters from the Washington Post said that about a hundred pro-Russian activists gathered on the steps of the city administration building, and that the separatist flag continued to fly over it. Radio Free Europe reported on 17 May that separatist militants (unarmed, but some wearing balaclavas) were patrolling Mariupol alongside police. On 19 May 2014, CNN reporters found DPR supporters, including armed militia, running their headquarters in a suburb of Mariupol. The leader of the group, Denis Kuzmenko, told the reporters he welcomed the role of the steelworkers in the city.
On the morning of 13 June 2014, heavy fighting resumed as part of military operations in Mariupol where the Azov and Dnipro-1 Battalions retook the city and key buildings occupied by insurgents killing five militants and destroying an insurgent BRDM-2 armoured vehicle.Two soldiers were also killed and 4–11 separatists were captured. A military armoured personnel carrier was destroyed during the fighting. Internal Affairs minister Avakov said "All key terrorist strongholds are being brought under control".
As a result of the six-hour battle, Ukrainian forces hoisted the national flag over the insurgent headquarters in the city and said they regained a 121-kilometre (75 mi) stretch of the border with Russia. Immediately following the operation, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko instructed the chief of the Donetsk regional state administration Serhiy Taruta to temporarily move the regional capital to Mariupol. A minor incident occurred the next morning, when a convoy of border guardsmen was attacked by insurgents whilst passing Mariupol, leaving five guardsmen dead and seven wounded.
OSCE monitors visited Mariupol to assess the situation in the city on 18 August.They reported that the city was calm and secure. They spoke to a local activist who told them that "the city had become stable" in the months after the recapture of the city by government forces. According to UNHCR, there were at least 4,000 refugees from the ongoing war in the Donbass region at the time that the monitors visited the city. Unofficial statistics cited by the OSCE give the number of refugees in Mariupol as 20,000.
There were conflicting reports regarding the number and identity of the dead with regard to the 9 May 2014 incident. Internal Affairs minister Arsen Avakov stated that the operation resulted in the death of one policeman, and about twenty people described as "terrorists".Four militants were captured and five policemen were wounded. The Daily Telegraph reported that some locals thought that most of the between five and twenty people killed were innocent civilians. City traffic police chief Viktor Sayenko was killed in the fighting on 9 May. A Euronews report said Mariupol residents, including the priest who conducted Sayenko's funeral, were unsure how he was killed, or who was responsible. Chief of Police Valery Andruschuk was captured by pro-Russian forces. He was released on 12 May, and was found in serious condition with a brain injury, brain contusion, and broken ribs. It was confirmed later that two pro-government territorial defence battalion paramilitaries were killed as well. One of them was the deputy commander of the Dnipro Battalion, Sergey Demidenko, who was killed by sniper fire. Citing eyewitnesses, Mariupol internet publication 0629 reported that "terrorists took Demidenko's dead body and cut his ears off and gouged his eyes." Eight soldiers were also wounded in the fighting.
The Mariupol city administration declared 10 May 2014 as a day of mourning in honour of those killed in the 9 May incident.Residents placed flowers in front of the gutted police station. A large public funeral was held in Kiev on 12 May for an Azov Battalion member who was killed in the fighting.
A further violent death was reported on 25 May, when the Ukrainian government said its special police had killed a bodyguard of Mariupol DPR leader Denis Kuzmenko, while arresting Kuzmenko himself.Five separatists and two soldiers were killed during the takeover of the city by the military on 13 June 2014. Five border guards were killed and seven wounded in an ambush attack on a military convoy on 14 June 2014.
A report by Human Rights Watch said that the Ukrainian military may have used excessive force during the Battle of Mariupol.
In January 2015, Kyiv Post cited a Bellingcat citizen's investigation into the May 2014 events in Mariupol. It asserted that Ukrainian soldiers had made a decided effort to avoid firing directly at the protesters, whilst taking fire and suffering casualties themselves. According to the investigation, of the thirteen people listed killed, six were Ukrainian law enforcement officers, soldiers, or members of the Azov Battalion.
On 13 June 2015, a monument to the defenders of the Military Unit No. 3057 was unveiled in the city on the first anniversary of the liberation. : День звільнення Маріуполя від проросійських терористів) is celebrated annually on 13 June, being an official holiday in the city. It was first solemnly celebrated at the state level in 2016 (the second anniversary). On this day, the Azov Regiment holds an organized military parade at 10:00 am near Grecheskaya Square towards the Regional Drama Theatre.A documentary film on the Public TV of Azov called Year of Freedom. Mariupol After DNR was released in 2015. Mariupol Liberation Day from Russian Occupation (Ukrainian
The traditional military parade was held, during which soldiers of the Azov Regiment, Military Unit 3057, representatives of the National Police and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine marched.President Volodymyr Zelensky paid and official visit to the city, attending joint military exercises and the opening of a demining center. Gala concerts were also held throughout the city.
From the end of February 2014, demonstrations by pro-Russian and anti-government groups took place in major cities across the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. During the first stage of the unrest, known as the "Russian Spring", the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation after a Russian military intervention, and an internationally criticized Crimean referendum. Protests in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (oblasts) escalated into an armed pro-Russian separatist insurgency. From late 2014, cities outside of the Donbass combat zone, such as Kharkiv, Odessa, Kiev and Mariupol, were struck by bombings that targeted pro-Ukrainian unity organizations. To maintain control over southeastern territories Ukraine's government started "antiterrorist operation" (ATO) sending armed forces to suppress separatists.
The following lists events that happened in 2014 in Russia.
This is a timeline of the 2014 pro-Russian unrest that has erupted in Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Ukrainian revolution and the Euromaidan movement.
The Siege of Sloviansk was an operation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to recapture the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast from pro-Russian insurgents who had seized it on 12 April 2014. The city was taken back on 5 July 2014 after shelling from artillery and heavy fighting. The fighting in Sloviansk marked the first major military engagement between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces, in the first runoff of battles of 2014.
The War in Donbass is an armed conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine. From the beginning of March 2014, protests by Russian-backed anti-government groups took place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, commonly collectively called the "Donbass", in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the Euromaidan movement. These demonstrations, which followed the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and which were part of a wider group of concurrent pro-Russian protests across southern and eastern Ukraine, escalated into an armed conflict between the separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, and the Ukrainian government. In the Donetsk People's Republic, from May 2014 until a change of the top leadership in August 2014, some of the top leaders were Russian citizens. According to the Ukrainian government, at the height of the conflict in mid-2014, Russian paramilitaries were reported to make up between 15% to 80% of the combatants.
An entrenched standoff between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists affiliated with the Donetsk People's Republic took place from 12 April until 5 July 2014. During the rising unrest in Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the city of Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast came under the control of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic on 12 April. In an effort to retake the city, the Ukrainian government launched a counter-offensive against the separatist, who had taken up positions in the city. The DPR army units withdrew from city on 5 July, allowing Ukrainian forces to subsequently recapture the city, ending the standoff.
The Special Operations Detachment "Azov", often known as Azov Battalion, Azov Regiment, or Azov Detachment, is a Ukrainian National Guard regiment, based in Mariupol in the Azov Sea coastal region. It saw its first combat experience recapturing Mariupol from pro-Russian separatists forces in June 2014. Initially formed as a volunteer militia on 5 May 2014 during the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, on 12 November 2014, Azov was incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine. All regiment members were contract soldiers serving in the National Guard of Ukraine.
The First Battle of Donetsk Airport was a conflict between separatist insurgents associated with the Donetsk People's Republic and Ukrainian government forces that took place at Donetsk International Airport on 26–27 May 2014, as part of the War in Donbass that began after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. A second battle broke out at the airport on 28 September 2014.
The Siege of the Luhansk Border Base was a two-day-long stand-off at a Ukrainian border base located on the outskirts of Luhansk city. It happened from July 2 to July 4 of 2014.
The 2nd Battalion of Special Assignment "Donbas" is a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and based in Severodonetsk. Originally created in 2014 as a volunteer unit called the Donbas Battalion by Semen Semenchenko following the Russian occupation of Crimea and possible invasion of continental Ukraine. The formation of the unit started in the spring of 2014 during the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine. The unit was initially formed as an independent force, but has been since fully integrated into the National Guard as the 2nd Special Purpose Battalion "Donbas" within the 15th Regiment of the National Guard.
In late August and early September 2014, rebels supporting the Donetsk People's Republic advanced on the government-controlled port city of Mariupol in southern Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine which it had controlled between May and June. This followed a wide offensive by DPR/Novorossiya forces, which led to their capture of Novoazovsk to the east. Fighting reached the outskirts of Mariupol on 6 September.
Fighting between separatist forces affiliated with the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), and Ukrainian military and volunteer forces broke out at Donetsk International Airport on 28 September 2014, sparking the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport, a part of the ongoing war in the Donbass region of Ukraine. This followed an earlier battle over control of the airport in May 2014, which left it in Ukrainian hands. The new battle was sparked despite a ceasefire agreement, the Minsk Protocol, that had been in place from 5 September. At the start of the battle, the airport was the last part of Donetsk city held by government forces, and it lies between the separatist and Ukrainian lines of control. Heavy fighting over the airport continued into the new year, with some of the worst fighting having taken place in January 2015. On 21 January, DPR forces overran the government's positions at the airport. The remaining Ukrainian forces were either killed, forced to retreat, or captured.
The Ukrainian crisis is collective name for the 2013–2014 Euromaidan protest movement, the subsequent February 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the unrest that followed the revolution and the ensuing Russo-Ukrainian War.
Like all post-Soviet states, Ukraine inherited its special forces (Spetsnaz) units from the remnants of the Soviet armed forces, GRU and KGB units. Ukraine now maintains its own Spetsnaz structure under the control of the Ministry of Interior, and under the Ministry of Defense, while the Security Service of Ukraine maintains its own Spetsnaz force, the Alpha group. The term "Alpha" is also used by many other post Soviet states such as Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan as these units are based on the Soviet Union's Alpha Group.
The Volnovakha bus attack was an attack on a highway checkpoint near the village of Buhas outside of the Volnovakha municipality in the Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on 13 January 2015. It resulted in the deaths of 12 passengers of an intercity bus and injuries to 18 others in the area. The attack was the largest single loss of life since the signing of the Minsk Protocol in September 2014, which attempted to halt the ongoing War in Donbass. The incident has been labeled an "act of terror" by both the Ukrainian authorities as well as the rebels.
An attack on Mariupol was launched on 24 January 2015 by pro-Russian forces associated with the Donetsk People's Republic against the strategic maritime city of Mariupol, defended by Ukrainian government forces. Mariupol had come under attack multiple times in the past year in the course of the War in Donbass, including in May–June 2014, when the city was under the control of pro-Russian forces; and the September 2014 offensive.
From mid-January 2015 during the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, the separatist forces of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) tried to recapture the city of Debaltseve in Donetsk Oblast, which had been under Ukrainian control since a counter-offensive by government forces in July 2014. The city lay in a "wedge" of Ukrainian-held territory bordered by the DPR on one side, and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) on the other, and is a vital road and railway junction. Separatists began a concerted effort to force Ukrainian troops out of the city on 16–17 January, sparking the Battle of Debaltseve. Heavy fighting went on until 18 February 2015, when Ukrainian forces were forced to withdraw.
The Shyrokyne standoff was a battle for the control of the strategic village of Shyrokyne, located approximately 11 km (6.8 mi) east of Mariupol city limits, between Ukrainian forces, led by the Azov Battalion, and Russian backed separatists. It is part of the larger War in Donbass. On 10 February 2015, the Azov battalion launched a surprise offensive against pro-Russian separatists associated with the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) with the aim of pushing the separatist forces away from Mariupol city limits. The village is located just 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Ukrainian-controlled city of Mariupol, and was used as a launching point for separatist attacks on the city, which served as the administrative centre of Donetsk Oblast whilst DPR forces control Donetsk city. Fighting continued until 3 July 2015, when DPR forces unilaterally withdrew from Shyrokyne. Subsequently a cease-fire was declared in the area.
The Special Tasks Patrol Police of Ukraine is the volunteer corps of law enforcement units, part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It was originally created for prevention of criminal encroachment and defence of civil order on 15 April 2014, following Russian invasion to Ukraine.
This is a timeline of the War in Donbass for the year 2014.