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April 2: Liberation Day for Kyiv region from invading Russian army

2 April, 2024 Tuesday
17:40

The Kyiv region bore the brunt of the initial Russian invasion, with columns advancing from the north, leaving devastation in their wake. The conflict in the Kyiv region endured for over a month, with 15 territorial communities in Bucha, Vyshhorod, and Brovary districts, comprising 270 settlements, falling under occupation

Liberation of the Kyiv region from invading Russian troops

The Defense Forces of Ukraine mounted a resilient defense, culminating in the liberation of the Kyiv region from Russian invasion on April 2, 2022.

For many residents, 2022 marked the most harrowing year of their lives, as the invaders left behind graves, torture chambers, and ruins. During the occupation, 1,370 residents of Kyiv region lost their lives, with 714 subjected to torture.

Ukraine will forever honor the heroic resistance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Territorial Defense units, and local residents, who courageously stood alongside the military to defend the state.

The liberation of the Kyiv region stands as a symbol of hope and underscores faith in Ukraine's ultimate victory.

Memorial Square "03.22"

In 2023, the families of victims in Bucha initiated the creation of Memorial Square "03.22". This square serves as a tribute to civilian victims of the Russian occupation, with trees planted bearing the names of those lost.

Situated at the junction of Yablunska Street and Nazariya Yaremchuka Street, the green space holds particular significance, as 78 individuals endured torture on Yablunska Street alone.

"Memorial Square will not only commemorate the past but also embody our hope for the future, serving as a place to honor all Bucha residents who perished at the hands of a merciless foe," remarked Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk.

Liberation of Bucha

GettyImages

Reuters

Bucha remained occupied by Russian forces for 33 days. Russian military vehicles entered Bucha on the morning of February 27, coinciding with a rocket strike on residential buildings. Anatoly Fedoruk, the Mayor of the city, reported the initial casualties.

The Russian troops withdrew from Bucha on March 31, 2022. The Ministry of Defense officially declared the liberation of all settlements in the Kyiv region from Russian military control on the evening of April 2. After Bucha was freed, journalists and Ukrainian military personnel entered the city, where they uncovered evidence of mass killings. Some bodies were found in the streets, some with their hands bound behind their backs. On April 14, 2022, International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan personally visited Bucha.

According to the private American company Maxar Technologies, satellite images first showed signs of a mass grave near the Church of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called in Bucha as early as March 10, 2022. On April 8, 2022, bodies were exhumed from the mass grave near the church. Law enforcement officials documented over 9,000 war crimes committed by the Russian army during the occupation of the Bucha district in the Kyiv region.

Throughout 2022, law enforcement authorities identified 91 Russian soldiers responsible for war crimes, and more than 1,700 civilians were killed, including approximately 700 in Bucha. Following the liberation, residents returned to their homes.

Hostomel: Sequence of events

GettyImages

GettyImages

On February 24, at approximately 7:00 a.m., military unit 3018 of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU) came under attack by a cruise missile. Around 8 o'clock, 34 Russian Ka-52 helicopters, armed with missiles, crossed the Ukrainian-Belarusian border at low altitude, heading south toward Kyiv. Upon reaching the airport, the helicopters launched missiles to eliminate potential defenders. Subsequently, 18 Mi-8 assault helicopters, carrying up to 300 elite Russian paratroopers, landed at the airfield, initiating a battle with the company-tactical group of the NGU, consisting of about 150 fighters armed with air defense equipment (American sources also mention armored vehicles).

By 7:20 p.m., Russian troops from the 45th special purpose brigade of the Russian Airborne Forces had seized control of the airport, allowing for the arrival of additional Russian forces. Following the fifth helicopter raid, the Russians destroyed the world's largest An-225 Mriya aircraft. The battle continued into the evening until the Russian Airborne Forces were expelled from the airport, though fighting persisted in the surrounding woods.

Ukrainian fighters provided cover for the evacuation of personnel and civilians from the base. By 9:00 p.m., Ukrainian Armed Forces had retaken control of Hostomel airport, employing unguided air missiles and subsequently clearing the area of enemies, as reported by Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, on Facebook. To ensure success, the Alpha special unit targeted Chechen fighters from Kadyrov's army.

Around 3:00 a.m. on February 25, explosions were heard once again on the outskirts of Kyiv, in the Hostomel district. By 2:00 p.m., the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed to have retaken Antonov Airport in an operation involving approximately 200 helicopters. On February 27, fighting continued in Hostomel near the turn to Irpin. Ukrainian Armed Forces targeted the airport to render it unusable to the enemy, conducting attacks on enemy equipment and personnel. The cleanup operation was carried out by the 80th brigade, 8th regiment, and 72nd brigade of the Armed Forces.

On March 3, hostilities resumed. On March 4, at least 50 Russian soldiers from the 31st Separate Guards Airborne Assault Brigade were killed by soldiers from the special forces of the military intelligence, the 3rd separate special purpose regiment, and the volunteer company-tactical group Irpin. Ukrainian military forces seized weapons, military equipment, personnel, and personal documents.

On March 5, it was reported that occupying Russian forces had seized the Pokrovsky residential complex and captured at least 40 local residents. The following day, at least 27 soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces were eliminated by Ukrainian military forces during the fighting for Hostomel, with most of the casualties being paratroopers from the 31st brigade.

The official liberation of the Kyiv region is April 2nd

In 2022, a week prior to that date, Hostomel, Bucha, and Irpin were designated as hero cities by presidential decree. Following the successful liberation of the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital from invading Russian forces, residents started returning and reconstructing their devastated homes.

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