Battle of Kiev (1918)

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Battle of Kiev
Part of Ukrainian-Soviet War (1917-1921)
Date February 5–8, 1918
Location Kiev, Ukraine
Result Bolshevik victory
sack of Kiev by Bolshevik forces
Kiev city garrison Red Guard forces
Commanders and leaders
Mykhailo Kovenko Mikhail Muravyov
3 batteries
armored train
artillery battery
Part of a series on the
History of Ukraine
Coat of arms of Ukraine

Battle of Kiev (1918) (Ukrainian: Штурм Києва (1918)) was a Bolshevik military operation of Petrograd and Moscow Red Guards formations directed to sack the capital of Ukraine. The operation led by Red Guards commander Mikhail Artemyevich Muravyov as part of the Soviet expeditionary force against Kaledin and the Central Council of Ukraine. The storming of Kiev took place during the ongoing peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk (Treaty of Brest-Litovsk) on February 5–8, 1918 (January 23–26, old style). The operation resulted in occupation of the city by Bolsheviks troops and evacuation of the Ukrainian government to Zhytomyr.


The aim of the undeclared war of the Soviet Russia against Ukraine was to install the Soviet power. During winter of 1917/18 the revolutionary formations of Russia installed the Soviet power in guberniyas of Kharkiv, Katerynoslav and Poltava. Kiev was next. The general command directed onto Kiev was in hands of Mikhail Muravyov. On January 27, 1918 the government of Ukraine announced Kiev under a siege and appointed Mykhailo Kovenko as the military commandant of Kiev. With the nearing of the Soviet advancing forces the city's Bolsheviks instigated uprising at the Arsenal factory, which was extinguished in seven days on February 4, 1918. The bolshevik protest in the city greatly eased the advancement of the Soviet forces drawing several of Ukrainian formations out of the adjacent provinces. The Kiev garrison was greatly demoralized by bolshevik propaganda and the Soviet advances across the territory of Ukraine. None of regiments were in full capacity and some either announced their neutrality or were eager to side with bolsheviks.

Order of battle[edit]

Muravyov Forces[edit]

List of formations[edit]

  • Red Guards of Bryansk 800 soldiers / Russians
  • Red Guards of Moscow (Moscow river neighborhood) 200 soldiers / Latvians/ Russians
  • Red Guards of Kharkiv 500 soldiers / Jews/ Russians
  • Donbas Red Guards of Dmitry Zhloba 300 soldiers / Russians/ Ukrainians/ Jews
  • Red Guards of Putilov Factory 60 soldiers / Jews/Russians/ Ukrainians
  • 1st Petrograd Red Guard formation 1,000 soldiers / Latvians/ Russians
  • Red Guards of Petrograd (Moscow district) 500 soldiers / Latvians/ Russians
  • Kharkiv Red Guards of Aleksandr Belenkovich 150 soldiers / Jews/ Russians/ Ukrainians
  • Red Cossacks of Vitaly Markovich Primakov 198 soldiers / Russians/ Ukrainians
  • Bryansk battery 92 soldiers / Russians
  • Armoured train of Moscow 100 soldiers / Russians
  • Red Guards formations of local settlements / Jews/ Russians
  • Underground workers of Arsenal (Cave monastery) / Russians/ Ukrainians

Composition by nationality: Russians - 88%; Jews - 7%; Ukrainians - 5%

Ukrainian Forces[edit]

External links[edit]