Russian forces led by Prince Grigori Potemkin and general Alexander Suvorov besieged the city, controlled by the Ottoman army under the command of Hasan Pasha, in 1788. Despite Suvorov's urging to storm the city immediately, Potemkin kept the Russian forces encircling Özü (Ochakov), bombarding the city with cannons and cutting off the defenders' supply of food and ammunition. Having kept his soldiers out of direct battle, Potemkin was able to minimize Russian casualties, though he was accused by his Generals of cowardice. The argument about storming continued in the Russian headquarters during the entirety of the siege. Also, Russians captured strategically important Pirezin Island on July 18, 1788.
The Turks made several attempts to break the siege. On July 27, about 5,000 janissaries attacked positions of the Russian Cossak squad and forced it to retreat. Suvorov personally led reinforcements and chased janissaries to the Özü gates, but was injured.
Hassan-pasha expected reinforcements from the Turkish fleet, gathering in Limans, but after the attack of Admiral Senyavin's fleet, Turkish reinforcements were cut off.
The condition of both armies continued to decline, there was a threat of epidemic, and the weather was growing very cold. Potemkin ultimately gave in to Suvorov's arguments. On the night of December 17 (December 6 by Julian Calendar), the Russians struck and captured Hassan-pasha's palace, forcing its guards to surrender. About 4,000 Turks were taken prisoners, including Hassan Pasha himself, but most of the city garrison was massacred in the street fight.