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The major tributaries in its drainage basin of 195,000 square miles (505,000 square km) are the Desna, Sozh, Berezina, Vorskla, Teteriv, and Pripet rivers.The climate of the Dnieper basin is continental, and annual precipitation ranges from 30 to 32 inches (760 to 810 mm) in the north to about 18 inches (460 mm) in the south.The name Bessarabia was applied to the entire region.Russia retained control of the region until World War I (with the exception of a strip of southern Bessarabia, which was in Moldavia's possession from 1856 to 1878).The Slavs began to enter the area in the 6th century, but their settlement was interrupted by invasions of other peoples from the east (ending with the Mongol invasion in the 13th century).

Then Russia, whose interest in the area had developed during the 18th century (it had occupied the region five times between 17), acquired Bessarabia and half of Moldavia (Treaty of Bucharest, 1812).It did so because Bukovina was not only the historical cradle of the Moldavian principality but also the repository of the finest examples of Romanian art and architecture, having unique painted monastic churches of the 15th and 16th centuries. Soviet troops retook the northern districts in 1944.Romania occupied Bukovina when Austria-Hungary collapsed in 1918. Northern Bukovina became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic under the peace treaty of 1947; the ancient Moldavian capital Suceava and the surrounding area, including the most famous of the monasteries, became part of the Romanian People's Republic., region in eastern Europe that passed successively, from the 15th to 20th century, to Moldavia, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Ukraine and Moldova.The Dnieper rises on the southern slopes of the Valdai Hills west of Moscow in Smolensk oblast (province), western Russia, and flows in a generally southern direction through Belarus and Ukraine and then into the Dnieper estuary of the Black Sea.The river's course can be divided roughly into three parts: the swampy upper Dnieper (800 miles [1,300 km] long) located as far downstream as Kyiv, where about four-fifths of the Dnieper River basin's annual runoff forms; the forest-steppe region of the middle Dnieper (340 miles [550 km] long); and the semiarid Black Sea Lowland region of the lower Dnieper (200 miles [320 km] long).

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