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Desna (Russian: Десна́; Ukrainian: Десна) is a river in Russia and Ukraine, a major left tributary of the Dnieper river. The word means "right hand" in the Old East Slavic language. Its length is 1,130 km (702 mi), and its drainage basin covers 88,900 km2 (34,324 sq mi).

Десна, Desna
Desna River in Chernihiv.jpg
The Desna River flows through Chernihiv, Ukraine.
Dnipro Basin River Town International.png
The Dnieper and the Desna Rivers' drainage basin. In this map, Belarus is shown in yellow, Russia in green and Ukraine in deep red.
CountryRussia, Ukraine
CitiesBryansk, Novhorod-Siverskyi, Chernihiv
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationSmolensk Heights, Russia
MouthDesna Delta
 ⁃ location
near Kiev, Ukraine
 ⁃ coordinates
50°33′0″N 30°32′0″E / 50.55000°N 30.53333°E / 50.55000; 30.53333Coordinates: 50°33′0″N 30°32′0″E / 50.55000°N 30.53333°E / 50.55000; 30.53333
Length1,130 km (700 mi)
Basin size88,900 km2 (34,300 sq mi)
 ⁃ locationKiev
 ⁃ average360 m3/s (13,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionDnieperDnieper–Bug estuaryBlack Sea
 ⁃ leftSeim, Oster
 ⁃ rightSudost

In Ukraine, the river's width ranges from 60 to 250 metres (200 to 820 ft), with its average depth being 3 m (10 ft). The mean annual discharge at its mouth is 360 m3/s (13,000 cu ft/s). The river freezes over from early December to early April, and is navigable from Novhorod-Siverskyi to its mouth, which totals about 535 km (332 mi).



The Desna River originates in the Smolensk Heights of Smolensk Oblast, Russia. The river's source lies in Yelninsky District, east-southeast from the city of Smolensk and not far from Yelnya in a forest near the village of Naleti. The Desna then flows south through a low and swampy valley toward the city of Bryansk, where the river's right bank rises.

After its confluence with the Seim River near the Russian-Ukrainian border, the river then widens, splitting into numerous smaller branches. Its right bank declines again near the city of Chernihiv, and again near one of its tributaries, the Oster, where the Desna continues its course through a low, muddy plain until it finally reaches its mouth near Kiev at the Dnieper River.

Chernihiv's Trinity Church and Monastery with the Desna River in the background.


The Desna has 18 right and 13 left tributaries. The most significant are:

Cities and towns on the DesnaEdit

The Svensky Monastery is located at the confluence of the Desna and the Sven River.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit