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Bessarabia, historic region of southeastern Europe, northwest of the Black Sea, between the Dniester and Danube rivers. After various Russo-Turkish conflicts it was ceded to Russia in 1812. After the Crimean War it passed to Moldavia (1856) but was regained by Russia (1878). Romania controlled it almost continuously from 1918 to 1944, when it joined the USSR. In 1991 it became part of independent Moldavia and Ukraine.

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