Kharkiv: The Tank Manufacturing Hub Destroyed by the Ukrainian War

Russian forces have advanced deep into Ukrainian defenses in the Kharkiv region in the northeast of the country, launching a ground assault.

According to Russian Defense Ministry data, their forces have seized the town of Bughrovyatka near the Russian border and the Ukrainian city of Vovchansk, advancing deeper into Ukrainian defenses.

What is Kharkiv City?

Kharkiv is the second-largest city and municipality in Ukraine in terms of both area and population. It serves as the largest industrial, scientific, and cultural center in the country.

The city was founded in 1654, with the establishment of the Kharkiv Fortress. It evolved into a major center for Ukrainian industry, trade, and culture in the Russian Empire.

By the early 20th century, the city was predominantly inhabited by Russians before Ukrainians became the majority.

Kharkiv was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, from December 1919 to January 1934, before the capital was moved to Kiev.

The city’s population exceeds one million, boasting around 700 monuments, museums, theaters, exhibition halls, and a distinctive metro system.

Kharkiv is renowned as the largest student city, housing over 40 institutes and universities.

Kharkiv Fortress

The fortress was built around the Ascension Cathedral and comprises 10 towers, the tallest being the Vystovska Tower at approximately 16 meters (52 feet), while the shortest is the Tainytska Tower, which contains a secret well with a depth of 35 meters (115 feet).

In 1689, the fortress was expanded to include the Assumption Cathedral and the Intercession Monastery, which became the headquarters of the local church leader.

Industrial Fortress

During the Soviet era, Kharkiv transformed into an industrial fortress with numerous factories.

The city underwent industrialization during the Five-Year Plan initiated by the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin starting from 1928.

The tractor factory in Kharkiv was one of the city’s prominent factories, manufacturing tractors and some tank parts. However, the war destroyed it in 2022.

The tractor factory gained importance as its equipment was a key tool in improving agricultural production and providing food for the entire population during that period.

The factory was located behind the Losivka station, 15 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv city. Its construction required the efforts of 10,000 workers, 2,000 horses, and around 100,000 tons of iron. Operations began in October 1931, producing around 150,000 tractors from 1931 to 1935.

Kharkiv also hosted the Malyshev Factory, previously known as the Kharkiv Locomotive Works, which began producing tanks such as the T-24, T-35, and BT during the 1927. Later models included the newer versions such as the T-80. The city is known as a hub for tank manufacturing.

During the recent Russo-Ukrainian War, the Malyshev Factory was bombed several times, resulting in its destruction.

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