In 1788, Russian forces led by Prince Grigori Potemkin and General Alexander Suvorov besieged the city, held by Ottoman troops commanded by Hasan Pasha. Despite Suvorov's urging to storm the city immediately, Potemkin had the Russian forces encircled Ochakov (Özi), bombarding the city and cutting off the defenders' supply of food and ammunition. By keeping his soldiers out of direct battle, Potemkin minimized 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, the 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 held by Cossacks and forced them to retreat. Suvorov personally led reinforcements and drove the Janissaries to the gates of Ochakov, but was injured.
Hasan Pasha expected reinforcements from the Turkish fleet, which gathered 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 disease, and the weather was growing very cold. Potemkin ultimately gave in to Suvorov's arguments. On the night of December 6 (December 17 in the Gregorian calendar), the Russians attacked, and captured Hasan Pasha's palace, forcing its guards to surrender. Over 9,500 Turks were killed during the assault, more than 4,000 were taken prisoner, including Hasan Pasha himself, but most of the city garrison was killed in the street fight, having lost about 20,000 men dead. The Russians lost 956 killed and 1,829 wounded in this operation.