The term Pontic-Caspian steppe summarizes the vast steppelands stretching from north of the Black Sea as far as the east of the Caspian Sea, from central Ukraine across the Southern and Volga Federal Districts of Russia to western Kazakhstan, forming part of the larger Eurasian steppe, adjacent to the Kazakh steppe to the east.
The Pontic steppe covers an area of 994,000 square kilometers (383,800 square miles), extending from eastern Romania across southern Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and northwestern Kazahkstan to the Ural Mountains. The Pontic steppe is bounded by the East European forest steppe to the north, a transitional zone of mixed grasslands and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. To the south, the Pontic steppe extends to the Black Sea, excepting the Crimean and western Caucasus mountains' border with the sea, where the Crimean Submediterranean forest complex defines the southern edge of the steppes. The steppe extends to the western shore of the Caspian Sea in the Dagestan region of Russia, but the drier Caspian lowland desert lies between the Pontic steppe and the northwestern and northern shores of the Caspian. The Kazakh Steppe bounds the Pontic steppe on the southeast.
The Ponto-Caspian seas are the remains of the Turgai Sea, an extension of the Paratethys which extended south and east of the Urals and covering much of today's West Siberian Plain in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic.