Mariupol is a city of regional significance in southeastern Ukraine, situated on the north coast of the Sea of Azov at the mouth of the Kalmius river. It is the tenth-largest city in Ukraine and the second largest in the Donetsk Oblast. The city is largely and traditionally Russophone, while ethnically population is divided between Russians and Ukrainians about 50/50.
Mariupol has been a centre for the grain trade, metallurgy, and heavy engineering. The Ilyich Steel & Iron Works and Azovstal propelled Mariupol onto the European stage in the 20th century as one of the largest and most productive plants. The city 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, a legal centre, and the economic engine of Pryazovia.