The Byk River, Ukraine. Image credit

Byk River

The Byk River is one of the most important tributary rivers of the Samara. The Samara, in turn, is one of the largest tributaries of the Dnieper River in Ukraine. The Dnieper River flows from Russia, into Belarus, down into Ukraine, emptying into the Black Sea. The Byk River is one of the major tributaries of this massive river, meaning it plays an important role in the flow of the Samara and Dnieper.

Location of the Byk River

Ukraine, administrative map with occupied territories by Russia - Donbas and Crimea, as of January 2022
Map of Ukraine, January 2022.

The Byk River is in eastern Ukraine, a few miles inland from the border between Ukraine and the Oblast region of Russia. The Byk River is not an independent waterway but rather a tributary of two much larger river systems. The Byk River empties into the southern portion of the Samara River. While the Samara empties into the Black Sea, the Byk River tributary does not.

The Byk River flows for approximately 63 miles (101 kilometers). It is a quiet area of the country, without any large cities in the area. The most impressive part of the river is its connection to the Dnieper River. The Dnieper and Samara Rivers play an important role in the flow of this tributary.

Byk River and the Samara River

Irresistible floods on the Samara River on the Dnieper in Ukraine in the evening warm bright light
Floods on the Samara River in Ukraine.

The Byk River is the most important tributary of the Samara River, with the Vovcha being the other Main tributary. The Samara shared its name with a branch of the Volga River in Russia, but the two are not connected. The Samara River runs for 199 miles (320 kilometers) into the south of the Dnieper River. It is a fairly large river. However, its overall size and volume can fluctuate wildly depending on the season.

The Byk River, being a tributary of the Samara, means that it feeds into the Samara. In the case of the Samara and Byk, the smaller rivers (Byk and Vovcha) feed into the larger river through the confluence of the waterways.

Byk River and the Dnieper River

Aerial top view of Kyiv skyline, Dnieper river and Truchaniv island from above, sunset in Kiev city, Ukraine
Kyiv skyline, Dnieper River, and Truchaniv island.

The Dnieper River is one of Europe's largest and most important rivers. It is the fourth largest river in Europe, with only the Danube, Volga, and Ural rivers being larger. The Byk River does not flow directly into the Dnieper River. Rather, the Byk River flows into the Samara River and, from here, flows into the Dnieper River.

The Dnieper River is also known as the Dnipro. The name "Dnipro" is shared with a local town where the Dnieper River meets the Samara. From here, the Dnieper River flows into the Bug, eventually ending in the Black Sea. All in all, the Dnieper flows for a total of 1368 miles (2,201 kilometers).

Important Villages and Towns of the Byk River

Aerial view of the town of Dobropillia, Ukraine
Dobropillia, Ukraine, near the origins of the Byk River.

Several small villages feature prominently along the banks of the Byk River. The larger villages in the Donetsk Oblast include the villages of Kam'yanka, Petrivske, Novomar’ivka, Petropavlivka, Dobropillia, and Kryvorizhzhya. Petropavlivka is a larger city to the east of several small villages. It is near the confluence of the Samara and Byk rivers. Dobropillia is another larger city along the Byk River that sits near the river's origins. The city is best known for its gold-topped church and used to be the most significant city in the Donetsk Oblast region. 

Most of these towns, within the Donetsk Oblast region of Ukraine, are small villages with dirt roads and open farmland. Despite the sparse population in this area of the Oblast, the Donetsk Oblast is one of the most densely populated in Ukraine. As of the last census, approximately 4.1 million residents lived in the Donetsk Oblast region. However, with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, many residents have relocated. The Donetsk Oblast region is one of the furthest eastern regions of Ukraine and is close to the Russian border. 

Topographic Region

wild pig on a flower meadow (Carpathians, Ukraine)
Wild pig on a flower meadow, Ukraine.

The Byk River flows through a predominantly rural region. There are forests and grassy plains that make for a pristine natural scene. The Byk River is a good fishing and hunting area. Ukraine is home to approximately 108 mammalian species, including wild pigs, Eurasian elks, wildcats, mice, and wolves. Some of the fish you can find in the area include pike, perch, and sterlet.


The Byk River is a beautiful river that needs more attention. However, this tributary river feeds into one of the most important rivers in Europe. Even though the Byk does not flow directly into the Black Sea, it does empty vicariously through the Samara and Dnieper.


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