Mariupol is a city of regional significance in south eastern Ukraine, situated on the north coast of the Sea of Azov at the mouth of the Kalmius river, in the Pryazovia region. It is the tenth-largest city in Ukraine. with a population of. The city is largely and traditionally Russophone, while ethnically the population is divided about evenly between Russians and Ukrainians. Mariupol was founded on the site of a former Cossack encampment named Kalmius and granted city rights in 1778. It has been a centre for the grain trade, metallurgy, and heavy engineering, including the Ilyich Steel & Iron Works and Azovstal. Mariupol has played a key role in the industrialization of Ukraine.
Due to the Soviet authorities frequently renaming cities after Communist leaders, the city was known as Zhdanov, after the Soviet functionary Andrei Zhdanov, between 1948 and 1989. Today, Mariupol remains a centre for industry, as well as higher education and business.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and capture of Donetsk city by pro-Russian insurgents associated with the Donetsk Peoples Republic in 2014, Mariupol was made the provisional administrative centre of the Donetsk Oblast. The city was secured on June 13, 2014 by Ukrainian troops and pro-Ukrainian insurgents, and has been under attack several times since.
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