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Zhovtneva street, the main street of Balakliia
Zhovtneva street, the main street of Balakliia
Coat of arms of Balakliia
Balakliia is located in Kharkiv Oblast
Location of Balakliia
Balakliia is located in Ukraine
Balakliia (Ukraine)
Coordinates: 49°27′57″N 36°52′04″E / 49.46583°N 36.86778°E / 49.46583; 36.86778Coordinates: 49°27′57″N 36°52′04″E / 49.46583°N 36.86778°E / 49.46583; 36.86778
Country Ukraine
OblastKharkiv Oblast
RaionIzium Raion
 • Total35 km2 (14 sq mi)
79 m (259 ft)
 • Total26,921
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code

Balakliia (Ukrainian: Балаклія, pronounced [bɐlɐˈkl⁽ʲ⁾ijɐ]) or Balakliya[2] is a city in Izium Raion, in Kharkiv Oblast (province), eastern Ukraine, on the north-east side of the Siverskyi Donets river close to where it is joined by the Balakliika river which runs through the city. It is an important railroad junction in the oblast. Balakliia hosts the administration of Balakliia urban hromada, one of the hromadas of Ukraine.[3] In 2021 it had an estimated population of 26,921.[4]

Administrative status[edit]

Until 18 July 2020, Balakliia was the administrative center of Balakliia Raion. The raion was abolished in July 2020 as part of the administrative reform of Ukraine, which reduced the number of raions of Kharkiv Oblast to seven. The area of Balakliia Raion was merged into Izium Raion.[5][6]


The city's name is derived from the Balakliya River [uk], a tributary of the Donets. The river's name in turn comes from a Turkic word meaning "fish river".[7] The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary judges from the name of the settlement that the city was originally a Tatar settlement.[8]

By the middle of the 16th century, the city was populated by Russians and served as a guard post against the Crimean Tatars.[8]

By the early 20th century, the city had a population of 5197.[8]

During World War II, the city was occupied by the Wehrmacht between December 10, 1941, and February 5, 1943.[9][10]

2017–2019 arms depot explosions[edit]

March 2017 explosions in the city

On 23 March 2017, 20,000 inhabitants of Balakliia were evacuated after a series of massive explosions [uk] erupted at a nearby arms depot of the Balakliia military installation, which stockpiles missile and artillery ammunition.[11] The disaster led to the death of one civilian woman and five others injured, with no casualties among the military.[12][13] Thousands of residents within a 10 km radius around the complex were evacuated in the aftermath. By the end of March, the fires and resulting arms explosions at the ammunition depot in Balakliia had damaged almost 250 buildings.[14] On 18 April, the city and nearby villages were cleared of unexploded ordnance.[15]

On 3 May 2018 ignition of dry grass led to a new series of explosions at the depot.[16] 1,500 locals were evacuated and no casualties were reported.[16] On November 15, 2019, another series of explosions killed two Ukrainian soldiers.[17]

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine[edit]

On 3 March 2022, during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces captured the city.[18]

On 6 September 2022, Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive towards the city, reportedly retaking the adjacent town of Verbivka and besieging the town.[19] On 8 September, the Ukrainian flag was raised in the city after a brief battle,[20] and on 10 September, Ukraine announced it had established control.[21][22]

After they retook the town, Ukrainian officials claimed to have discovered torture chambers where Ukrainian prisoners were held. Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv Region National Police Investigation Department, stated that 40 people had been detained there.[23] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that more than 10 such torture chambers had been discovered in the Kharkiv region.[24]

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Балаклея // Украинская Советская Энциклопедия. том 1. Киев, «Украинская Советская энциклопедия», 1978. стр.339
  2. ^ "Ukraine's Kharkiv area after surprising offensive".
  3. ^ "Балаклейская городская громада" (in Russian). Портал об'єднаних громад України.
  4. ^ "Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2021 / The current population of Ukraine on 1 January 2021" (PDF) (in Ukrainian and English). State Statistics Service of Ukraine.
  5. ^ "Про утворення та ліквідацію районів. Постанова Верховної Ради України № 807-ІХ". Голос України (in Ukrainian). 2020-07-18. Retrieved 2020-10-03.
  6. ^ "Нові райони: карти + склад" (in Ukrainian). Міністерство розвитку громад та територій України. 17 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Реки и водоемы Харьковщины". Archived from the original on 1 Aug 2012.
  8. ^ a b c "Ново-Серпухов" . Энциклопедический словарь Брокгауза и Ефрона [Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary] (in Russian). 1906. p. 302 – via Wikisource.
  9. ^ "МІСТО БАЛАКЛІЯ". Archived from the original on 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  10. ^ Friedrich Dettmer, Otto Jaus, Helmut Tolkmitt: Die 44. Infanterie-Division. Reichs-Grenadier-Division Hoch- und Deutschmeister 1938–1945., Seite 186 bis 212, Verlag Austria Press, Wien 1969
  11. ^ Ukraine munitions blasts prompt mass evacuations, BBC News (23 March 2017)
  12. ^ "NATO envoys arrive in Balaklia to assist in humanitarian demining". UNIAN. 25 March 2017.
  13. ^ "One dead after blasts at eastern Ukraine arms depot". Yahoo News. 25 March 2017.
  14. ^ "В СБУ рассказали о взорвавшем арсенал в Балаклее беспилотнике". (in Russian).
  15. ^ Balaklia, nearby villages cleared from unexploded ordnance after March 23 accident, UNIAN (18 April 2017)
  16. ^ a b Ammo depot explosions in Kharkiv region's Balaklia stop on Thursday afternoon, UNIAN (3 May 2018)
  17. ^ "При взрывах на арсенале в Балаклее погибли двое украинских военных". Archived from the original on 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  18. ^ "Ukrainian city of Balakliya freed from nationalist battalions - Russian Defense Ministry". 3 March 2022.
  19. ^ Oliphant, Roland; Barnes, Joe (2022-09-06). "Ukraine launches surprise attack near Kharkiv in bid to push back Russians". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  20. ^ UKRAINE’S EASTERN COUNTERATTACK REGAINS GROUND FROM RUSSIANS, Nolan Peterson, Coffee or Die Magazine, 9 August 2022.
  21. ^ Hunder, Max; Hnydii, Vitalii (2022-09-10). "Russia loses control of key northeast towns as Ukrainian troops advance". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  22. ^ see also Russian forces in full retreat from Kharkiv as Ukraine seeks to turn tide of war
  23. ^ Yang, Maya; Ho, Vivian; Belam, Martin; Farrer, Martin (14 September 2022). "Ukraine's officials claim to have discovered 'torture chamber' used by Russian troops – as it happened". The Guardian.
  24. ^ Askew, Joshua (19 September 2022). "Ukraine war: Russian 'torture chambers', Kherson 'provocations', fears on Ukraine-Russia border Access to the comments". Euronews.

External links[edit]