Ukrainian line

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Ukrainian Line
Ukrainskaya liniya.1745.jpg
Ukrainian Line in 1737
TypeDefensive line
Site information
Controlled byNovorossiysk Governorate of the Russian Empire
Site history
In use1731–1770th
MaterialsNatural features, moats, earthworks

Ukrainian defensive line was a Russian heavily fortified defensive line on the territory of modern Ukraine built between 1731–1764 on the lands of the Zaporizhian Sich and the Cossack Hetmanate. Built by imperial Russia, it strengthen the defense of the southern borders from Tatar incursions[1] and established military bases in approximation to the Crimea. 285 kilometers in length, it comprised 16 newly-constructed forts and 4 old forts repaired. The first stage was built from 1731–40 and subsequent construction began in the 1740s.

History of construction[edit]

Since the late 1720s, the Russian Empire began to actively prepare for war with the Ottoman Empire for the return of Azov and Northern Azov Sea Region. The Ukrainian line was built to prevent the Tatar incursion into the Poltava territory of the Hetmanate and the Kharkov territiory of Sloboda Ukraine.[2] The line proved to be of limited success given the distance between the fortresses and that the Crimean Tatars excelled in asymmetrical warfare, here by raiding through gaps in the Russian defense lines.[3] The bulk of the work on the construction was done by Ukrainian Cossacks and peasants in 1731–1732. Every year 20 thousand Cossacks and 10 thousand peasants of Hetmanate worked on the line, who were obliged to work with their inventory and supplies, every 10th with an ox and the Cossacks with their weapons. Thousands of Ukrainians lost their lives in the construction of the line. After signing the Treaty of Belgrade in 1739 and the transfer of the Russian-Turkish border from the territory between the Samara and Oril rivers on the Azov Sea, work on the line was terminated, and with the construction of the Dnieper line in 1770–1783, the Ukrainian line lost its military defensive value.

Structure of the Line[edit]

The line ran from the Oril river to the Siverskyi Donets River. The Ukrainian line consisted of 16 forts and 49 redoubts.


Fortress Name Other Name Town Years Coordinates
Borisoglebskaya fortress Parhomiv Buyrak, after 1738 called Tenth Fortress Krasnohrad 1731–1742 48.803148, 34.330804
Bilevska fortress 49.369017, 35.452845
Efrem fortress Yefremivka 1731–1742 49.441978, 36.064019
Kozlivska fortress Krutoyarska Fortress Zaliniyne (neighborhood) at Skalonivky 1731 49.189962, 35.169081
Livenskaya fortress Livens'ke/Mayachka 49.109136, 34.519317
Orel fortress after 1738 called Ninth Fortress Dyachkivka 1731–1742 49.472411, 35.722404
Ryazhskaya fortress Ryaske 49.173816, 34.916266
St. Alexis fortress Oleksiivs'ka 1731–1742 49.392243, 36.264049
St. John (Ioanivska) Fortress Oktyabrs'ke 1731–1742 49.440044, 35.585453
St. Michael fortress Michael fortress, after 1738 called Kyselna Fortress (Kisel, Kizel) Mykhailivka 1731–1742 49.321668, 36.446030
St. Paraskeva fortress Paraskivska Fortress Paraskoviya 1731–1742 49.517610, 35.868816
St. Peter fortress Peter's fortress to 1738, after called Donetsk fortress village Petrivske 1731 49.163730, 36.890191
St. Theodore fortress Theodore fortress after 1738 called Driyetska fortress or New Castle) Zaliniyne 1731 49.168657, 35.093911
Slobodskaya fortress after 1738 called Lozovaja Fortress Pavlovka 1731 49.215590, 36.578546
Tambov fortress after 1738 called Buzova castle or fortress Busov village Mar'yivka 1731 49.136049, 36.741880
Vasylivska fortress 1731–1736 49.164035, 34.752155

For defense there were 20 regiments of land militia, (14 cavalry regiments, and six infantry regiments) with about 22 000; it had 180 artillery guns and 39 mortars. In 1740 there were 18 forts and 140 redoubts. Bilevska castle was the center of the line. Until 1764, a land militia office was located there.


  1. ^ Serhii Plokhy. "Ukraine and Russia: Representations of the Past", 2008, p. 60
  2. ^ Brian Davies. "Empire and Military Revolution in Eastern Europe: Russia's Turkish Wars in the Eighteenth Century. Continuum International Publishing Group", 2011., p. 172
  3. ^ Brian Davies. "Empire and Military Revolution in Eastern Europe: Russia's Turkish Wars in the Eighteenth Century. Continuum International Publishing Group", 2011., p. 205