Zaporozhye Oblast
Запорожская область
Coat of arms of Zaporozhye Oblast
Zaporizhzhia Oblast:

  Ukrainian territory never occupied
  Ukrainian territory liberated from occupation
  Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine

Occupied countryUkraine
Occupying powerRussia
Russian-installed occupation regimeZaporozhye military-civilian administration[a] (2022)
Disputed oblast of RussiaZaporozhye Oblast[b] (2022–present)
Southern Ukraine campaign24 February 2022
Annexation by Russia30 September 2022
Administrative centreMelitopol[1]
Largest settlementMelitopol[1]
 • Head of AdministrationYevgeny Balitsky (United Russia)[2]
 • Deputy Heads of AdministrationMikhail Gritsai (Socialist Ukraine)[3]
 • Head of MCA GovernmentAnton Koltsov

The Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia Oblast is an ongoing military occupation which began on 24 February 2022, after Russian forces invaded Ukraine and began capturing the southern portion of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. On 26 February, the city of Berdiansk came under Russian control, followed by the Russian victory at Melitopol on 1 March. Russian forces also laid siege and captured the city of Enerhodar, home to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which came under Russian control on 4 March. The capital of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Zaporizhzhia, has not been taken by the Russian army and remains under Ukrainian control.

In May, the Russian government started offering Russian passports to the region's inhabitants.[4] In July, it issued a decree which extended Russian 2022 war censorship laws to Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and included deportation to Russia as punishment.[5] In September, the occupation forces held largely disputed referendums in the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Kherson Oblast for the oblasts to join the Russian Federation.[6][7] On 27 September, Russian officials claimed that Zaporizhzhia Oblast's referendum passed, with 93.11% of voters in favour of joining the Russian Federation.[8][9] Russia signed an accession treaty with the Russian administration of the region on 30 September 2022.[10] Russia annexed Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 30 September 2022, including parts of the oblast that it did not control at the time.[10] The United Nations General Assembly subsequently passed a resolution calling on countries not to recognise what it described as an "attempted illegal annexation" and demanded that Russia "immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw".[11]

The Russian-installed occupation force was initially called "Zaporozhye military-civilian administration".[a] Its name was changed to "Zaporozhye Oblast"[b] after the Russian annexation. "Zaporozhye" is the Russian equivalent of "Zaporizhzhia". Melitopol serves as the temporary capital city of the Russian administration due to Russia's lack of control over Zaporizhzhia, which is the de jure capital of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. In March 2023, Melitopol became the official capital of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast after the acting head of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Yevhen Balytskyi, signed a decree on moving the de jure capital to Melitopol until Zaporizhzhia is captured.[12]


Initial military occupation (March 2022)

On 1 March 2022, shortly after the city's capture, citizens of Melitopol held a street protest against the military occupation of the city. The protestors marched and used their bodies to block a convoy of Russian military vehicles.[13][14]

On 4 March 2022, the former leader of the Anti-Maidan of Zaporizhzhia, Volodymyr Rogov, who calls himself "a member of the Main Council of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military-Civilian administration of the Zaporozhye", published in his telegram channel part of the provisions of the program of "comprehensive financial and economic measures for the economic development of the regions of Ukraine controlled by the Russian Federation". This program was written in its entirety in the newspapers published by the occupying authorities, as well as on March 9 in the public "Military-Civilian Administration of Melitopol". According to the BBC, the program was written in a complex bureaucratic style and was similar to other similar documents of the Russian authorities.[15]

On 10 March, the director of the Melitopol Museum of Local History, Leila Ibragimova, was arrested at her home by Russian forces, and was detained in an unknown location.[16] One day later, Melitopol's mayor, Ivan Fedorov, was abducted by Russian troops for refusing to cooperate with them and continuing to fly a Ukrainian flag in his office.[17] Russian authorities did not comment on Fedorov's disappearance, but the prosecutor's office of the Russian-backed self-proclaimed breakaway state (located within Ukraine) Luhansk People's Republic accused him of "terrorist activities".[18]

Military-civilian administration (March–June 2022)

Ivan Fedorov, Ukrainian-recognised Mayor of Melitopol
Yevhen Balytskyi, Russian-installed Mayor of Melitopol

On 12 March, Halyna Danylchenko was proclaimed by the Russians as the acting mayor of Melitopol,[19][20] but Ukrainian sources stated that Yevhen Balytskyi became the unofficial de facto head of the city.[21][22][23] Meanwhile, hundreds of people took part in a protest outside Melitopol city hall to demand the release of Fedorov.[18] Olga Gaysumova, head of the non-governmental organization "Conscientious Society of Melitopol" and the organizer of local protests against Russian forces, was arrested.[24] On 13 March, the Melitopol City Council declared that, "The occupying troops of the Russian Federation are trying to illegally create an occupation administration of the city of Melitopol."[25] It appealed to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova, to launch a pre-trial investigation into Danylchenko and her party Opposition Bloc for treason.[25] Ukrayinska Pravda reported that the Russian military had abducted Melitopol's District Council Chairman Serhiy Priyma and had tried to abduct City Council Secretary Roman Romanov.[26] Meanwhile, Russian military vehicles were seen announcing via loudspeakers that rallies and demonstrations had been prohibited and that a curfew was imposed from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.[27] On 14 March Ukrayinska Pravda reported that Russian forces had prevented new protests by blocking of the central square of Melitopol.[28] It also said "Two activists were abducted and taken away in an unknown direction."[28]

On 16 March, Fedorov was freed from captivity. Some Ukrainian officials said he was freed in a "special operation".[29][30][31] Zelenskyy's press aide Daria Zarivna however later said he was exchanged for nine Russian conscripts captured by Ukrainian forces.[32]

On 18 May 2022, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Marat Khusnullin, during a visit to the region, stated that "the region's prospect is to work in our friendly Russian family," and announced the imminent implementation of plans to launch the maximum turnover of the ruble. According to him, pensions and salaries will be paid to residents of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Russian currency already within a calendar month.[33]

On 23 March 2022, Mayor Fedorov reported that Melitopol was experiencing problems with food, medications, and fuel supplies, while the Russian military was seizing businesses, intimidating the local population, and holding several journalists in custody.[34]

On 25 May, Vladimir Rogov announced that after the complete capture of the region, it would be annexed by Russia. He also said that a dual-currency zone was introduced in the occupied territory and the coat of arms of Aleksandrovsk from the times of the Russian Empire was installed, with which they began to issue new license plates with the signature "TVR" (a reference to the Taurida Governorate; old numbers are used, but with a "TVR" sticker over the Ukrainian flag).[35][36] Later a report revealed that Balitsky still used Ukrainian coat of arms of Zaporizhzhia Oblast sometimes on documentations.[37] On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree on the simplified provision of Russian passports to residents of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They will be able to obtain Russian passports under the same procedure as the population of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.[38]

Annexation by Russia and further developments (July 2022–present)

Russian President Vladimir Putin with pro-Russian leaders of the occupied territories on 30 September 2022

On 28 July, Meduza reported that temporary departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation had been set up in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts of Ukraine.[39]

On 8 August, Balitsky announced at the forum that a referendum on "reunification" with Russia would be held in the region, and signed the corresponding order of the CEC.[40] The election commission, according to the statement, began to form as early as July 23. The referendum was expected to be held in September.[41][42]

On 8 September, it was announced that referendums would be held in all the occupied territories of Ukraine from 23 to 27 September, the purpose of which was the annexation of these territories.[43] According to the MCA, 93.11% of voters in the referendum voted for the region to become part of Russia.[44] After the announcement of the results, Balitsky said that "Zaporizhzhia Oblast de facto separated from Ukraine".[45] In September, the administration founded the Pavel Sudoplatov Battalion.[46] On September 28, the Zaporizhzhia MCA announced the withdrawal of the region from Ukraine.[47]


Administrative divisions

The administrative divisions of Russia's claimed territory

According to the occupation administration, the Zaporizhzhia Military-Civilian Administration is divided into 5 districts including Berdiansk Raion, Melitopol Raion, Polohy Raion, Vasylivka Raion and Zaporizhzhia Raion.[48][unreliable source]


The composition of the administration is published on its website, however, not all members of the administration are listed there, but only the Head, the commandant of Berdiansk, and the deputy for housing and communal services.[49]

The table lists notable members of the administration.

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Head of MCA26 May 2022Incumbent United Russia
Chairman of MCA Government18 July 2022Incumbent Independent
Deputy for housing and communal services
Mikhail Gritsai
18 July 2022Incumbent Socialist Ukraine
Member of the Central Council18 July 2022Incumbent We are Together with Russia
Commandant of Berdyansk
Dmitry Igorevich Ryzhkov
18 July 2022Incumbent Independent

After the 30 September 2022 annexation of Zaporizhizha Oblast, Balytskyi was made its governor under Russian law, as of October 4.[50]

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant crisis

Main article: Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant crisis

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi and other mission team members at the plant on 1 September 2022

On 4 March, the city of Enerhodar and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) came under Russian military occupation.[51] Since then, the ZNPP has been the center of an ongoing nuclear safety crisis.[52] Russia has used the plant as a base to hold military equipment and troops, heightening risk of damage to the plant and a fuel meltdown.[53]

On 6 March, the IAEA released a statement saying that Russian forces were interfering in the operations of the power plant, stating that "any action of plant management—including measures related to the technical operation of the six reactor units—requires prior approval by the Russian commander," and further stating that "Russian forces at the site have switched off some mobile networks and the internet so that reliable information from the site cannot be obtained through the normal channels of communication".[54] On 9 March, Herman Galushchenko, Energy Minister of Ukraine, claimed that Russian forces were holding the workers at the power plant hostage and had forced several to make propaganda videos.[55]

Resistance to occupation

On 22 April 2022, Fedorov said that over 100 Russian soldiers had been killed by partisans during the occupation of Melitopol.[56]

On 24 August 2022, the Russian-appointed head of Mykhailivka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ivan Sushko, was assassinated in a car bombing.[57]

Territorial control

Name Pop. Raion Held by As of More information
Berdiansk 107,928 Berdiansk  Russia[58][59] 24 May 2022 See Berdiansk port attack
Captured by  Russia 27 February 2022.[58]
Chernihivka 5,645 Berdiansk  Russia[60] 17 Mar 2022 Captured by  Russia 14 March 2022.
Dniprorudne 18,036 Vasylivka  Russia[61][62] 22 Apr 2022 Captured by  Russia 4 March 2022.[citation needed]
Enerhodar 52,887 Vasylivka  Russia[63] 4 Mar 2022 See Battle of Enerhodar
Captured by  Russia 4 March 2022.
Fedorivka 2,214 Polohy  Russia 27 Jul 2023
Huliaipole 13,070 Polohy  Ukraine[64][65] 23 May 2022 See Battle of Huliaipole
Inzhenerne 1,003 Polohy  Russia[66] 21 May 2022
Kamianka 6,507 Polohy  Russia[60][67] 15 Mar 2022 Captured by  Russia 14 March 2022.
Kamianka-Dniprovska 12,332 Vasylivka  Russia 2 Mar 2022 Captured by  Russia 2 March 2022.[citation needed]
Kamianske 2,639 Vasylivka Contested:[68] 19 May 2022
Kopani 616 Polohy  Russia[69] 11 Oct 2022
Melitopol 150,768 Melitopol  Russia[70] 16 May 2022 See Battle of Melitopol
Captured by  Russia 1 March 2022.
Mykhailivka 11,694 Vasylivka  Russia[71] 13 May 2022
Myrne 872 Polohy  Russia[72][73] 24 Apr 2022
Nesterianka 1,566 Polohy  Russia[74] 3 Sep 2022
Novomykolaivka 5,059 Zaporizhzhia  Ukraine 24 Feb 2022
Novopokrovka 314 Polohy  Russia 17 Aug 2023
Orikhiv 14,136 Polohy  Ukraine[75] 30 Mar 2022
Polohy 18,396 Polohy  Russia[76][75] 30 Mar 2022 Captured by  Russia 7 March 2022.
Prymorsk 11,397 Berdiansk  Russia 1 Mar 2022 Captured by  Russia 28 February 2022.[citation needed]
Robotyne 480 Polohy Contested:[77] 15 Aug 2023
Rozivka 3,022 Polohy  Russia[78] 30 Apr 2022
Stepnohirsk 4,294 Vasylivka  Ukraine[79] 15 Oct 2022 Held by  Ukraine on 15 October 2022.[79]
Tokmak 30,132 Polohy  Russia[76][62] 22 Apr 2022 Captured by  Russia 7 March 2022.
Vasylivka 12,771 Vasylivka  Russia[80] 23 May 2022 Captured by  Russia by 7 March 2022.[76]
Zaporizhzhia 722,713 Zaporizhzhia  Ukraine 24 Feb 2022 See Civilian convoy attack, Residential building airstrike, October missile strikes

See also


  1. ^ a b Russian: Запорожская военно-гражданская администрация, romanizedZaporozhskaya voyenno-grazhdanskaya administratsiya
  2. ^ a b Russian: Запорожская область, romanizedZaporozhskaya oblast


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  2. ^ Глава Запорожской ВГА Балицкий вступил в "Единую Россию"
  3. ^ Очолював Запорізьку обласну та Бердянську міську організації партії "Соціалістична Україна".
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