The Soviet Liberation of the Ukraine and Crimea January–May 1944

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Map Code: Ax00736

Having reached Kiev and the eastern bank of the River Dnieper by November 1943, the Soviet army continued its advance westwards along five fronts, completely destroying 18 Wehrmacht and Romanian divisions and inflicting heavy casualties. It is estimated that over 6 million ethnic Ukrainians fought alongside the Russians, helped by half a million partisans, and by May 1944 the Soviets had reached the pre-war borders of Poland and Romania. The Battle of Crimea (8 April–12 May 1944) ended with a German evacuation across the Black Sea. However, in western Ukraine various nationalist organizations were formed to fight for an independent state. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) represented the exiled Ukrainian government, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) defended the Ukrainian minority in Poland, while the Ukrainian Liberation Army (ULA) allied with the Nazis. It is estimated that about 7 million Ukrainians, including 1.5 million Jews, lost their lives during the war.

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