Odessa Oblast, Ukraine
Area: 33,310 km2
Population: 2,392,487 (2013)
An oblast or province of southwestern Ukraine located along the northern coast of the Black Sea, the largest oblast by area. It is characterised by largely flat steppes divided by the estuary of the Dniester River. Its Black Sea coast comprises numerous sandy beaches, estuaries and lagoons. The region’s soils are renowned for their fertility, and intensive agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The southwest possesses many orchards and vineyards, while arable crops are grown throughout the region. Evidence of the earliest inhabitants in this area comes from the settlements and burial grounds of the Neolithic Gumelni？a, Cucuteni-Trypillian and Usatovo cultures, as well as from the tumuli and hoards of the Bronze Age Proto-Indo-Europeans. Its administrative center is the city of Odessa, where nearly 40% of the oblast population live.
Significant branches of the oblast's economy are:
* Oil refining and chemicals processing
* Transportation (important sea and river ports, oil pipelines and railway);
* Viticulture and other forms of agriculture, notably the growing of wheat, maize, barley, sunflowers and sugar beets.
The region's industrial capability is principally concentrated in and around Odessa.
On 11 July 2002, Xi Jinping, Governor of Fujian Province and Grinevtsky, Governor of Odessa Oblast signed the Agreement in Odessa to establish the Sister Province Relationship, the first of its kind for Fujian within Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of the Independent States.