| Sevastopol’ city|
| population |
| includes town of Inkerman, |
Kacha urban-type locality,
and rural councils
Sevastopol (Севастополь, Sevastopol’ in Russian and Ukrainian; Aqyar in Crimean Tatar), formerly known as Sebastopol, is a port city in Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of Crimean peninsula. It has a population of 328,600 (2004). Home of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet, the city is still a Russian naval base.
Also, Sevastopol is an important center of marine biology. In particular, studying and training of dolphins has been developing in the city since the end of the World War II, initially as a secret naval program of using these animals in underwater special operations.
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Political status and subdivision
Administratively, Sevastopol is a municipality independent from surrounding Crimean autonomy (see Subdivisions of Ukraine for more details). It is further subdivided into 4 raions. Some of the raions include dependent towns and village (rural) communities that were subsumed by Sevastopol earlier, the most notable among those being Balaklava, Inkerman and Kacha.
Sevastopol is probably the most famous naval citadel in the world.
Sevastopol was founded in 1783, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula. It became an important naval base and later a commercial port. It was besieged by the British and French during the Crimean War, falling after 11 months. A panorama created by Franz Roubaud, and restored after its destruction in 1942, is housed in a purpose-built building, and depicts the situation at the height of the siege, on 18 June 1855.
Russian naval base and Ukraine-Russia Black Sea Fleet dispute
According to a 1997 treaty, the Russian naval base is declared to be "located in Sevastopol" on the terms of lasting rent, following a long diplomatic and political dispute between Russia and the newly independent Ukraine. At first, Moscow refused to recognize Ukrainian sovereignty over Sevastopol as well as over surrounding Crimean oblast, arguing that city was never practically integrated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic due to its military base status. This was later resolved by the bilateral "Peace & Friendship" treaty, stating that Sevastopol belongs to Ukraine.
Despite this, naval base command and Russian-backed organizations actually control the city, dominating its business and cultural life. Russian society (including highest statesmen) in fact never agreed with the loss of Sevastopol, considering it as temporarily parted from their country. Moscow City authorities, guided by Mayor Luzhkov, continuously sponsor pro-Russian social, educational and cultural activities in Sevastopol (especially those related to Russian Navy servicemen and their families). These activities are directed to promote the city's practical independence from the rest of Ukraine. While Ukrainian-appointed authorities retain formal control of Sevastopol's life (such as of taxation and civil policing), trying to avoid confrontation with base command and Moscow-oriented groups. A few years ago the Communist-dominated city council rejected EBRD loan for renovation of Sevastopol's poor sewage system, declaring the project intended to increase the city's dependence on the Ukrainian government and the West.
The ex-Soviet Black Sea Fleet with all facilities was divided between Russia's Black Sea Fleet and the Ukrainian Navy after a continuous struggle. Two navies now share some of the city's few harbours and piers, while others were demilitarized or controlled by one country. Sevastopol remains the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Headquarters, while Ukrainian Naval HQ is also based in the city. A judicial row continues over naval hydrographic infrastructure (see hydrographic office) in Sevastopol and on the Crimean coast (especially lighthouses used in civil navigation support).
- "Narodny Oglyadach" ezine reports on morale situation in Russian naval base in Sevastopol : http://observer.sd.org.ua/news.php?id=3962
- BBC News reports on WWII bomb destroyed in Sevastopol: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3470099.stm
- BBC News reports on Russian Navy in Sevastopol:
|Subdivisions of Ukraine|
|oblasts:||Cherkasy | Chernihiv | Chernivtsi | Dnipropetrovsk | Donetsk | Ivano-Frankivsk | Kharkiv | Kherson | Khmelnytskyi | Kirovohrad | Kiev | Luhansk | Lviv | Mykolaiv | Odessa | Poltava | Rivne | Sumy | Ternopil | Vinnytsia | Volyn | Zakarpattia | Zaporizhia | Zhytomyr|
|cities with special status:||Kiev | Sevastopol|