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Poltava is a city and oblast center in eastern Ukraine with some 300,000 inhabitants.

The city belonged to Lithuania from the 14th century, and was transferred to Poland in 1569. In 1667 it became part of Russia.

On June 27, 1709, a Swedish army of 29,000 troops led by field marshal Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld (who had been given the command of the army when the Swedish king Charles XII was wounded on June 17) was defeated here by Tsar Peter the Great, commanding 45,000 troops. "Like a Swede at Poltava" is still a synonym for "totally helpless" in Russian and Ukrainian idiom. The battle marked the end of Sweden as a great power and the rise of Russia as one.