Photo 13:57 29 Jan 2023

Zelensky honors memory of Kruty Heroes

On the Day of Remembrance of the Kruty Heroes, President Volodymyr Zelensky honored the memory of those who died in the fight for independent Ukraine during the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1921.

That's according to the press service of the head of state.

At the Askold grave in Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelensky laid flowers at the Heroes of Kruty memorial cross.

The head of state noted that by commemorating the Heroes of Kruty, "we remember our history, we feel pride, we thank and support the Ukrainian Army, and together we bring victory closer."

The ceremony was also attended by the Head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov, Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and Deputy Head of Zelensky's Office Roman Mashovets.

Flowers were also laid by the cadets of military educational faciliies, in particular the Petro Sahaidachny National Academy of Land Forces, Ivan Kozhedub Kharkiv National University of the Air Force, Institute of Military and Naval Forces at the Odesa Maritime Academy, Military Institute of the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, Heroes of Kruty Military Institute of Telecommunications and Informatization, and Ivan Bohun Kyiv Military Lyceum.

The National Anthem of Ukraine was played, after which the soldiers of the Honors Guard performed a solemn march before the Memorial Cross.

As reported, the Battle of Kruty took place on January 29, 1918, between Nizhyn and Bakhmach in Chernihiv region, just 130 kilometers northeast of Kyiv, during the attack on Kyiv by Bolshevik Russian troops led by Colonel Mikhail Muravyov. On the Ukrainian side were nearly 300 soldiers with the Students' unit, 250 with the First Ukrainian Military School, and almost 40 Haydamak fighters.

The battle lasted throughout the day. Thanks to the advantageous position and heroism of Ukrainian fighters, they inflicted significant losses on the Russians and restrained the offensive until dark. Then, under the enemy pressure, most of the units retreated in an organized manner to the trains at the station nearby and left towards Kyiv, destroying the railway tracks behind them. But a group of 27 students got lost in the dark and returned to the Kruty station, which at that time was already occupied by the Bolsheviks. Those 27 captured young men (students and high-schoolers) were executed. The youngest of them were just 16.

Ukraine marks Remembrance Day of Kruty Heroes

In December 1917, the government of the Soviet Russia launched an open aggression against the Ukrainian People's Republic (UPR). The Bolsheviks were extremely annoyed by Ukraine's declaration of independence.
At first, Moscow established a separate 'Ukrainian Red Government' with its capital in Kharkiv, which in fact declared war against an independent part of the state, and then turned the troops against it – Baltic sailors, Red Army thugs from Moscow, Petrograd, Pskov, Smolensk, etc. This was presented as a 'civil war'.

The Battle of Kruty took place on January 29, 1918, between Nizhyn and Bakhmach in the Chernihiv region, 130 kilometers northeast of Kyiv, during the offensive of the troops of the Bolshevik Russia, led by Colonel Mikhail Muravyov, on Kyiv. Since late December 1917, a unit of the 1st Kyiv Youth School named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, under the command of centurion Honcharenko, had been defending the Bakhmach station, an important railway junction at the border between the UPR and the Russian SFSR. On January 27, 1918, they received reinforcements from Kyiv, namely the first hundred of the newly established student unit made up of volunteers – students of the Ukrainian National University, St. Volodymyr Kyiv University (known as present-day Taras Shevchenko National University) and high-school senior students led by centurion Omelchenko.

Ukrainian forces took up defense near Kruty Station. In the morning of January 29, 1918, the Bolshevik unit, consisting of 4,000 Petrograd and Moscow Red Guards, began an assault on Ukrainian positions. The Ukrainian army, which was destined to enter into a bloody clash with that horde, consisted of about 300 members from the student unit, 250 – from the 1st Ukrainian Military School and nearly 40 haidamaks.

The battle lasted until the evening. Thanks to the favorable position and heroism of troops, Ukrainians managed to hold off the offensive until the darkness, but under the pressure of the enemy Ukrainian forces stepped back to the echelons and moved toward Kyiv, destroying railway tracks behind them. A group of students, 27 young men, lost their way at night and returned to Kruty Station, which at that time was already seized by the Bolsheviks. Twenty-seven captured students were shot dead. The youngest of the fallen were 16 years old.

According to various estimates, from 70 to 100 Ukrainians were killed during the Battle of Kruty. The Bolshevik troops lost up to 300 soldiers.

After the shooting, the Bolsheviks did not allow local peasants to bury the bodies of the dead. Only after the liberation of Kyiv from the Reds, at the instruction of the Ukrainian government, on March 19, 1918, a solemn funeral of the fallen in the Battle of Kruty took place at the Askold's Tomb in Kyiv.

In the Soviet era, the graves of the fallen in the Battle of Kruty were destroyed. For decades, the history of battle has either been silenced or overgrown with myths and fictions, both in foreign and in national historiography.

After Ukraine gained independence, the feat of Kruty Heroes took a worthy place in the pantheon of national glory, became a symbol of patriotism and sacrifice in the struggle for state independence.


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