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City

Donetsk, current official population 965,429, was founded in 1869 by John Hughes, a Welsh businessman.  He was asked to come to the region to build a steel plant and several coal mines.  Eventually the town was names after Hughes, later becoming known as Stalino, and finally the name Donetsk.

Under the Soviet Union, the city became an industrial hub.  Coal mining became a way of life for much of eastern Ukraine, with Donetsk serving as the center of what became known as the Donbass region.  Much of the city was destroyed during World War II.  It was occupied by Nazi Germany for almost two years.  The city lost almost two-thirds of its population.

Donetsk has been recognized for being the cleanest industrial city in the world by UNESCO, and gained a reputation as the city of a million roses.  Roses dot the landscape to this day, with numerous parks and green spaces throughout the city