Horlivka (UK: /ˈhɔːrljkə/ HOR-lew-kə,[2] US: /ˈhɔːrlɪfkə/ HOR-lif-kə;[3] Ukrainian: Го́рлівка [ˈɦɔrl⁽ʲ⁾iu̯kɐ]), also known by its Russian name Gorlovka[4] or Gorlowka[5] (Russian: Горловка [ˈɡorləfkə]), is a city of regional significance in the Donetsk Oblast (province) of eastern Ukraine. In 2001, the city's population was 292,000, which declined to 256,714 by 2013. Economic activity is predominantly coal mining and the chemical industry. The Horlivka State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages has a two building campus in the city centre.



Horlivka Palace of Culture


Coat of arms
Location of Horlivka
Coordinates: 48°18′N 38°3′E
Country Ukraine
Oblast Donetsk Oblast
RaionHorlivka Municipality
  MayorYevhen Klep[1]
  Total422 km2 (163 sq mi)
  Density686.9/km2 (1,779/sq mi)

The city was severely damaged during the War in Donbass and has since been mainly under control of pro-Russian forces.[6] Suburbs of Horlivka stayed under Ukrainian army control.[7]

Since April 2019, the Ukrainian commander has declared that Horlivka has been controlled by the Ukrainian army.


In 1779 the city was founded as Gosudarev Posad (meaning posad of Gosudar of Russia) and in 1869 it was renamed after Pyotr Gorlov as Gorlovka (locally Horlivka). The workers' town provided basic services to and organization of a series of mining camps.

During the Russian Revolution of 1905, it was the scene of an armed uprising.

In April 1918 troops loyal to the Ukrainian People's Republic took control of Horlivka.[8]

Subsequently, under Soviet control, by the 1930s it had expanded considerably and become a major center for mining operations in the Ukrainian SSR.

The city was occupied by German troops from 1941-1943.[9] During World War II retreating Nazis burned buildings and perpetrated mass shootings. Nonetheless, the city's population had risen to over 400,000 by the end of the war.

In recent years many mines have closed. The population fell by more than ten percent during the 1990s.

2014 pro-Russian separatism

In the middle of April, 2014, and shortly thereafter, pro-Russian separatists captured several towns in Donetsk Oblast.[10][11] A group of separatists seized the police station in Horlivka on April 14;[12] the city hall was seized on April 30.[13] The mayor of the city, Yevhen Klep, was detained by the separatists on June 11, and not released until July 18.[14] Local chief of police Andriy Kryschenko was captured and badly beaten by the insurgents.[15][nb 1] A Horlivka city council deputy, Volodymyr Rybak, was kidnapped by the pro-Russian militants on 17 April. His body was later found in a river on 22 April.[18] The city administration building was seized on 30 April, solidifying separatist control over Horlivka.[19] Self-proclaimed mayor of Horlivka Volodymyr Kolosniuk was arrested by the SBU on suspicion of participation in "terrorist activities" on 2 July.[20]

On July 21 and 22, 2014, the city saw heavy fighting.[21][22] The Ukrainian army reportedly retook parts of Horlivka on July 21.[23] After the Ukrainian army had retaken Lysychansk on July 25, 2014,[24] the recapture of Horlivka became a priority, for the city was seen as "a direct path to the regional center - Donetsk".[25] As of 28 July, the city was reported to be fully surrounded by Ukrainian troops, with rebels holding their positions inside.[26] However, Horlivka continued to be controlled by separatist forces.[6][27] As of June 2015 it was situated 10 kilometers from the war front.[6] Suburbs of Horlivka stayed under Ukrainian army control.[7] In November 2017 they regained control of the villages of Travneve and Hladosove north of Horlivka.[28]

As reported by the city administration, from the beginning of the conflict till late January 2015 274 local civilians were wounded and 92 killed, including 9 children.[29] Because of the conflict the city's population shrank to 180,000.[6]

In late March 2019, according to Ukrainian media reports, Ukrainian army mine clearance specialist Andriy Shor, who participated in both battles for the Donetsk Airport and the Battle of Pisky, announced on Facebook that the Ukrainian army had recently taken control of Horlivka city.[30][31] Unian reported that Ukrainian forces have secured the outskirts of the city and are slowly advancing further towards the center of Horlivka, citing Ukrainian volunteer Yuriy Mysiahin.[32] In May the separatists tried to push the Ukrainian forces back, but failed.[33]


Ethnic composition as of the Ukrainian Census of 2001:[34]

Ethnicity Number %

First language as of the Ukrainian Census of 2001:[34]

Infrastructure and environment

Despite the fall of communism a statue of Lenin still stands in a central square bearing his name. Horlivka is well served by CNG-buses (see Natural gas vehicle), but much of the city's Soviet-era infrastructure shows signs of deterioration. By contrast, a number of modern shops and a new cathedral (completed 2014) in the town center indicate some rejuvenation.

On the eastern side of Horlivka there is an abandoned chemical plant which used to produce toxic explosives and has been reported to be in a dangerous condition.[35][36] Mining activity has resulted in large spoil tips being visible around the city, but a tree-planting project and ongoing forestry maintenance has revitalised an area to the north.

The city was severely damaged during the War in Donbass.[6]

Administrative division

The city is divided into three city districts: Mykytivka, Kalinin, and City Center.

The city municipality also includes several towns and villages. Most of populated places belongs to the City Center district, while Hladosove, Holmivsky and Zaitseve is part of Mykytivka district.

  • towns: Holmivsky, Zaitseve, Panteleymonivka
  • villages: Mykhailivka, Ryasne
  • hamlets: Hladosove, Ozeryanivka, Piatykhatky, Stavky, Fedorivka, Shyroka Balka

Notable people from Horlivka


The Museum of the City History, the Art Museum (the largest collection of paintings by N. Roerich in Ukraine), the Miniature Book Museum by V.A. Razumov (the only state in the world). 62 out of 84 comprehensive schools (29,700 students, 7,000 teachers), 55 kindergartens (5,700 children), 19 out of 25 houses of culture and clubs, 7 parks, 29 libraries, 7 cinemas.

International relations

Horlivka is twinned with:


  1. On 6 April 2015 Interior Minister Arsen Avakov appointed Andriy Kryschenko police chief of Kharkiv.[16] On 15 December 2015 he was appointed Chief of the National Police of Ukraine in Kiev.[17]


  1. The result counts, Den (24 February 2011)
  2. "Horlivka". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  3. "Horlivka". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  4. "Gorlovka: Ukraine". Geographical Names. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  5. "Gorlowka: Ukraine". Geographical Names. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  6. Resident of Russian-held Horlivka: 'We have nothing', Kyiv Post (22 June 2015)
  7. Five Ukrainian soldiers were injured in hostilities in the anti-terrorist operation, Interfax-Ukraine (20 April 2016)
  8. (in Ukrainian) 100 years ago Bakhmut and the rest of Donbass liberated, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 April 2018)
  9. "Yahad-In Unum Interactive Map". Execution Sites of Jewish Victims Investigated by Yahad-In Unum. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  10. Leonid Ragozin. "Putin Is Accidentally Helping Unite Eastern and Western Ukraine - The New Republic". The New Republic.
  11. "Injuries reported in pro-Russia attack at Horlivka in east Ukraine". euronews.
  12. "Ukraine: Protesters Seize Police HQ in Horlivka". VOA.
  13. "In rundown Horlivka, pro-Russian separatists' gains come as no surprise to many". Washington Post.
  14. "Media: Separatists free Horlivka mayor". KyivPost.
  15. Ukrainska Pravda, Аваков: Керівник міліції Горлівки - справжній офіцер – побитий, але живий [Avakov says that the head of police in Horlivka, a true officer, is battered but alive], 14 April 2014.
  16. (in Ukrainian) Police Kharkiv now headed by officer who survived after beating separatists, Ukrayinska Pravda (6 April 2015)
  17. (in Ukrainian) Chief of police of Kharkiv transferred to Kiev, SQ (15 December 2015)
  18. "Ukraine alert as politician killed". BBC. 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-11-03.
  19. "Pro-Russian separatists seize buildings in east Ukraine's Horlivka". The Globe and Mail. 30 April 2014. Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  20. "SBU Detains Self-Styled Major of Horlivka, Donetsk Region Kolosniuk". Ukrainian News Agency. 2 July 2014. Archived from the original on 2 July 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  21. "Horlivka sees gunfire, bridge damage, electric public transport halt". Interfax-Ukraine.
  22. "Two inmates die, two more injured when colony in Horlivka comes under fire". Interfax-Ukraine.
  23. "Government forces enter Horlivka suburb < News < Home". nrcu.gov.ua. Archived from the original on 2014-07-22.
  24. Felicia Schwartz and Carol E. Lee (26 July 2014). "White House Says Putin 'Culpable' in Flight 17 Crash". WSJ.
  25. "ATO major forces to focus on Horlivka". ukrinform.ua.
  26. Dmitry Lovetsky. "Fighting intensifies near crash site". The Columbus Dispatch.
  27. "Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time)". OSCE. 2015-01-19. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  28. Ukrainian troops liberate two villages along Svitlodarska Duha bulge, UNIAN (25 November 2017)
    OSCE monitors report Travneve in Donbas cut off power grids since Nov 16, UNIAN (27 November 2017)
    Photos: Ukrainian army distributing aid in Hladosove and Travneve villages north to Horlivka, liveuamap.com (25 November 2017)
  29. "Горловка после дня обстрелов: трое погибших, 17 раненых, повреждены 14 школ, приостановлена работа детских садов". Gorlovka.ua. 2015-01-19. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  30. "Ukrainian military invaded in Gorlovka – social networks". newsbeezer.com. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  31. "Ukraine's Armed Forces reportedly cross Russia-occupied Horlivka's border – Donbas veteran". www.unian.info. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  32. "Securing new ground: Ukraine Army in Horlivka". www.unian.info. 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  33. "Сепаратисты под Горловкой пытались потеснить ВСУ". korrespondent.net (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-09-23.
  34. "Ukrcensus.gov.ua".
  35. "Journal of Health & Pollution". doi:10.5696/2156-9614.1.2.2. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  36. "2012-01-03 Chernobyl of Gorlivka". Archived from the original on 2014-01-01.
  37. "Town twinning Information about town twinning". Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
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