Sevastopol's status as a strategic naval stronghold has contributed to its fascinating history, but has not been kind to the city itself. Under siege for 11 months during the Crimean War, the formerly glorious city was left in ruins. Reconstructed, it was then besieged again by Germans in WWII, reduced to rubble, and rebuilt once again. During Soviet times a closed city, Sevastopol opened to the outside world only in 1995, and not until 1997 did Russia and the Ukraine sign a peace and friendship treaty, ruling out Moscow's claims, and making Ukraine a sovereign nation.
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