In 1237, the Mongols approached the borders of the Ryazan principality. Batu stormed the city and interrupted most of the population of Ryazan; These data confirm archaeological excavations. The conquering campaign of the Mongol commander began in the fall. The rivers and lakes were covered with ice, which accelerated the advance of the enemy. In “The Tale of the Ruin of Ryazan, Batu” there are the following lines: “And there was a sin of evil and terrible. Many strong Batyiv regiments fell. And the king Batu saw that the force of Ryazan was beating hard and courageously, and was frightened. But ‹...› Batu's forces were great and irresistible, one Ryazan fought with a thousand, and two with ten thousand. ‹...› (Russians) Batyivs passed through many strong regiments, bravely and courageously beat them, so that all the regiments of Tatar marvel at the fortress and courage of the Ryazan army. And barely overpowered their strong Tatar regiments ... And in the city of many people, and wives, and children, they whipped with swords, and others were sunk in the river, <... ›and they burned all the hail, and all the beauty glorified, and the wealth of Ryazan was captured. ‹...› And not a single living thing remained in the city: all the same they died and they drank a single mortal bowl. There was neither moaning nor crying here - neither father and mother about children, neither children about father and mother, nor brother about brother, nor relatives of relatives, but all together lay dead ”. By 1237, about 25 thousand people lived in Ryazan.
After the defeat of Ryazan, the commander went to the Vladimir-Suzdal principality. From Moscow, the warriors moved on the Klyazma ice towards Kolomna and further towards Vladimir. It should be noted that the capital city was well fortified. He was surrounded by high walls, the Golden Gate towered in the west. To get into the heart of Vladimir, the Mongols had to break through three powerful defensive lines. Prince Yury Vsevolodovich was not in the city; he left in his place the sons of Vsevolod and Mstislav. The prince himself at that time was engaged in the collection of troops.
The Mongol-Tatars offered the city to surrender. Having been refused, they killed the captive of Moscow Prince Vladimir Yuryevich. The chronicle narrates: “The whole multitude is filled with its own camps, and they themselves came to Vladimir on Saturday and started to begin woods and vices from morning to evening, and on the night garden garden around the whole city ... Having stepped up to the city from the whole side and started beating vices according to hail and inside hail, and great kamenya fell from afar ... and knocking out the wall at the Golden Gate, also from Lybid at the Orinin Gate and at the Copper, also from Klyasma, at the Volozhskie Gate, and the rest of the hail was broken, and poured inside the stone ” . The assault lasted 4 days, the troops of Batu made breaches in the walls and on February 7 they set fire to the city. People hid in churches and died from fire. 14 cities of the principality were devastated, and Pereyaslavl-Zalessky was the most desperate of them. The fighting for this city lasted 5 days.
Taking of Vladimir
Batu divided the army into several parts, one of which was heading for Torzhok. Novgorod was the next on the way, but at a certain moment the Batu army turned south. According to a number of historians, the Mongolian commander feared to continue the campaign in the springtime, when the roads become impassable. According to another version, the troops did not move towards Novgorod due to heavy losses.