On 24 February 2022, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, unleashed an attack on Ukraine that developed into the most significant conflict in Europe since the Second World War. Fought over the same ground that the Germans and the Soviet Union battled on between 1941 and 1944, Russia attempted to advance to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and replace its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with a puppet regime. Facing determined resistance, the Russians failed to reach the city, being compelled to withdraw and re-direct their forces to other fronts.
The Battle of Kyiv tells the story of the heroic resilience of the Ukrainians over the military forces of a country which has more than three times its population and an economy almost ten times larger. This book is also an analysis of the enormous support given to Ukraine, both politically and militarily, by NATO and other nations, without which Ukraine’s military might have failed to beat back the invaders.
The author explores the first phase of the war, during which Russian armour, mechanized and air mobile troops drove on Kyiv, surrounded Chernihiv, seized Kherson twice, and threatened the very existence of the Ukrainian state. The United States’ intelligence services estimated that the Russians would seize Kyiv within three days. They offered to evacuate President Zelensky back to Lviv. His alleged response to the Americans was: ‘I need ammunition, not a ride.’ He and his government stayed in Kyiv and the battle lines were drawn.
The Russians continued their offensive. As well as bearing down on Kyiv and Kherson, Putin’s troops also threatened Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and the beleaguered port city of Mariupol. This book covers all the fighting for these areas up until Russia’s subsequent withdraw from the region around Kyiv. It addresses the military operations on the ground, the destruction of the buildings and the Ukrainian infrastructure, the suffering of the civilian population and the day-by-day struggles for survival.
Writing as the battle raged on, the author examines the conflict with an unparalleled immediacy and poignancy. The Battle of Kyiv is an important historical document depicting the uncertainty and anxiety faced by the contesting forces and by the rest of the world as the war in Ukraine hung in the balance.