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  • The First Battle of Kiev was the German name for the operation that resulted in a very large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kiev during World War II. It is considered the largest encirclement of troops in history. The operation ran from 7 August to 26 September 1941 as part of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. In Soviet military history, it is referred to as the Kiev Defensive Operation, with somewhat different dating of 7 July – 26 September 1941. Nearly the entire Southwestern Front of the Red Army was encircled, with the Germans claiming 665,000 captured. However, the Kiev encirclement was not complete, and small groups of Red Army troops managed to escape the cauldron days after the German pincers met east of the city, including the headquarters of Marshal Semyon Budyonny, Marshal Semyon Timoshenko and Commissar Nikita Khrushchev. The commander of the Southwestern Front—Mikhail Kirponos—was trapped behind enemy lines and killed while trying to break through. The Kiev disaster was an unprecedented defeat for the Red Army, exceeding even the Minsk tragedy of June–July 1941.

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