Sevastopol

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Sevastopol (Ukrainian and Russian: Севастополь; Crimean Tatar: Aqyar) (see pronunciation below) is a port city in Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 (2001).[1] The city, formerly the home of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, is now home to a Ukrainian naval base and facilities leased by the Russian Navy and used as the headquarters of both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russia's Black Sea Fleet. In 1993, the city was the subject of a territorial dispute between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

The unique geographic location and navigation conditions of the city's harbours make Sevastopol a strategically important naval point. It is also a popular seaside resort and tourist destination, mainly for visitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.

The trade and shipbuilding importance of Sevastopol's Port has been growing since the fall of the Soviet Union,[citation needed] despite the difficulties that arise from the joint military control over its harbours and piers.

Sevastopol is also an important centre of marine biology research. In particular, studying and training of dolphins has been conducted in the city since the end of World War II. It was first conducted as a secret naval programme to use the animals for special undersea operations.

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