Seaport city (pop., 2001: 342,000) in the Crimea, southern Ukraine. In 1783 the Russians annexed the Crimea, and, near the ancient Greek colony of Chersonesus, they began construction of a naval base on Sevastopol Bay, an inlet of the Black Sea. It became a commercial port in the early 19th century. It was besieged by Anglo-French forces for 11 months (1854–55) during the Crimean War, an ordeal chronicled by Leo Tolstoy in his Sevastopol Sketches. The devastated town was later rebuilt, and it was the anti-Bolshevik White Army headquarters in the Russian Civil War (1918–20). In World War II it was destroyed after a months-long siege by the Germans, but again it was reconstructed. The chief base of the Russian Black Sea fleet since the early 19th century, it has extensive dockyard facilities and arsenals. The Ukrainian naval forces are also now based in Sevastopol.