Mongol invasion of Rus'
As part of the Mongol invasion of Europe, the Mongol Empire invaded Kievan Rus in the 13th century, destroying numerous cities, including Ryazan, Kolomna, Moscow, Vladimir, and Kiev. The campaign was heralded by the Battle of the Kalka River in May 1223, a full-scale invasion of Rus by Batu Khan followed, from 1237 to 1240. The invasion was ended by the Mongol succession process upon the death of Ögedei Khan, all Rus principalities were forced to submit to Mongol rule and became part of the Golden Horde empire, some of which lasted until 1480. As it was undergoing fragmentation, Kievan Rus faced the unexpected eruption of a foreign foe coming from the mysterious regions of the Far East. For our sins, writes the Rus chronicler of the time, no one knew their origin or whence they came, or what religion they practiced. That is known only to God, and perhaps to wise men learned in books, the princes of Rus first heard of the coming Mongol warriors from the nomadic Cumans. In response to call, Mstislav the Bold and Mstislav Romanovich the Old joined forces and set out eastward to meet the foe. In the Secret History of the Mongols, the reference to this early battle is, Then he sent Dorbei the Fierce off against the city of Merv. He sent Subetei the Brave off to war in the North where he defeated eleven kingdoms and tribes, crossing the Volga and Ural Rivers, finally going to war with Kiev. The vast Mongol hordes of around 35,000 mounted archers, commanded by Batu Khan and Subutai, crossed the Volga River and it took them a year to extinguish the resistance of the Volga Bulgarians, the Cumans-Kipchaks, and the Alani. In November 1237, Batu Khan sent his envoys to the court of Yuri II of Vladimir, a month later, the hordes besieged Ryazan. After six days of battle, the city was totally annihilated. Alarmed by the news, Yuri II sent his sons to detain the invaders, having burnt down Kolomna and Moscow, the horde laid siege to Vladimir on February 4,1238. Three days later, the capital of Vladimir-Suzdal was taken and burnt to the ground, the royal family perished in the fire, while the grand prince retreated northward. Crossing the Volga, he mustered a new army, which was annihilated by the Mongols in the Battle of the Sit River on March 4. Chinese siege engines were used by the Mongols under Tului to raze the walls of Russian cities, the most difficult to take was the small town of Kozelsk, whose boy-prince Vasily, son of Titus, and inhabitants resisted the Mongols for seven weeks, killing 4,000. As the story goes, at the news of the Mongol approach, the town of Kitezh with all its inhabitants was submerged into a lake. The only major cities to escape destruction were Novgorod and Pskov, the Mongols were advancing on Novgorod but unexpectedly turned back at the site mentioned as Ignach Cross, of which the exact location is not known
Battle of the Kalka River
They were under the joint command of Mstislav the Bold and Mstislav III of Kiev. The battle was fought on May 31,1223 on the banks of the Kalka River in present-day Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, and ended in a Mongol victory. Following the Mongol invasion of Central Asia and the subsequent collapse of the Khwarezmian Empire, Jebe requested permission from the Mongolian emperor, Genghis Khan, to continue his conquests for a few years before returning to the main army via the Caucasus. While waiting for Genghis Khans reply, the duo set out on a raid in which they attacked Georgia, Genghis Khan granted the duo permission to undertake their expedition, and after making their way through the Caucasus, they defeated a coalition of Caucasian tribes before defeating the Cumans. The Cuman Khan fled to the court of his son-in-law, Prince Mstislav the Bold of Galich, Mstislav the Bold formed an alliance of the Rus princes including Mstislav III of Kiev. The combined Rus army defeated the Mongol rearguard at first, the Rus pursued the Mongols—who were in a feigned retreat—for several days, which spread out their armies. The Mongols stopped and assumed battle formation on the banks of the Kalka River, Mstislav the Bold and his Cuman allies attacked the Mongols without waiting for the rest of the Rus army and were defeated. In the ensuing confusion, several other Rus princes were defeated, after holding for three days, he surrendered in return for a promise of safe conduct for himself and his men. Once they surrendered, however, the Mongols slaughtered them and executed Mstislav of Kiev, Mstislav the Bold escaped, and the Mongols went back to Asia, where they joined Genghis Khan. In 1219, in retaliation for the murders of his ambassadors, in a campaign that lasted three years, Genghis Khan and his generals destroyed the Khwarezmian armies and caused the empire to disintegrate. The Khwarezmian Sultan Ala ad-Din Muhammad succumbed to disease on an island in the Caspian Sea, leaving his son, when Jebe heard of Ala ad-Din Muhammads death, he asked Genghis Khan for a year or two to continue his conquests before returning to Mongolia via the Caucasus. While awaiting Genghis reply, Jebe and Subutai led their army of 20,000 men and they left behind a trail of destruction as they moved through Persian Iraq and Azerbaijan, sacking the cities of Rey, Zanjan and Qazvin. The city of Hamadan surrendered without a struggle, from Tabriz, the Mongols advanced north and made their winter base in the Mugan Steppes. There, the army was strengthened by the arrival of Kurdish and Turcoman freebooters, at the same time, Jebes and Subutais attention had turned elsewhere. In January and February 1221, they made a reconnaissance into the Kingdom of Georgia, the goal of the Mongols was not to conquer the country but to plunder it, and the Kurds and Turcoman freebooters were sent off in the vanguard. However, the King of Georgia, George IV Lasha, advanced with 10,000 men, the Mongols withdrew, but continued to launch counter-attacks on the Georgian army. The Mongols then launched an attack and defeated the Georgian army. In March 1221, the Mongols returned to Azerbaijan and besieged Maragheh, by the end of the month, they had captured the city and put most of the population to death
Siege of Ryazan
Ryazan was the first Rus city to be besieged by the Mongol invaders under Batu Khan. In the autumn of 1237 the Mongol Horde led by Batu Khan invaded the Rus principality of Ryazan, the Prince of Ryazan, Yuriy Igorevich, asked Yuriy Vsevolodovich, the prince of Vladimir, for help, but did not receive any. The Mongols defeated the vanguard of the Ryazan army and on December 6,1237 besieged the capital of the principality, the townspeople repelled the first Mongol attacks. The Mongols then used catapults to destroy the citys fortifications, the city of Old Ryazan was completely destroyed and was never rebuilt. After the destruction of Ryazan, Batu Khans horde pushed on into the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal, full Collection of Russian Chronicles, St. Petersburg,1908, reprinted Moscow,2001, ISBN 5-94457-011-3