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"Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny
ni slava, ni volya"

(English: "The Glory and the Will of Ukraine Have Not Yet Died")
Europe-Ukraine (orthographic projection; disputed territory).svg
Europe-Ukraine (disputed territories, 2).jpg
  • Location of  Ukraine  (green)
  • Annexed by Russia and Offensive by Donetsk (light green)
and largest city
50°27′N 30°30′E / 50.450°N 30.500°E / 50.450; 30.500
Official languages Ukrainian
Ethnic groups
  • 77.8% Ukrainians
  • 17.3% Russians
  • 4.9% others/unspecified
Demonym(s) Ukrainian
Government Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic
Volodymyr Zelensky
Oleksiy Honcharuk
• Chairman of Parliament
Dmytro Razumkov
Legislature Verkhovna Rada
Establishment history
• Kievan Rus'
• Kingdom of
• Cossack
18 (8) August 1649
• Autonomous Ukrainian People's Republic
within Russia
23 (10) June 1917
• Independence
22 (9) January 1918
• West UPR
13 November 1918
• Soviet rule
10 March 1919
• Member of the
Soviet Union
30 December 1922
• Czechoslovakian
(Carpatho-Ukraine) autonomy
30 December 1938
• Soviet annexation
of Western Ukraine
15 November 1939
• Independence
30 June 1941
• Declaration of
state sovereignty
16 July 1990
• Independence from
the Soviet Union
24 August 1991a
• Current
28 June 1996
• Total
603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi) (45th)
• Water (%)
• 2019 estimate
Decrease 42,030,832
(excluding Crimea and Sevastopol) (33rd)
• 2001 census
• Density
73.8/km2 (191.1/sq mi) (115th)
GDP (PPP) 2019 estimate
• Total
Increase $408.040 billion (47th)
• Per capita
Increase $9,743 (111th)
GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
• Total
Increase $134.887 billion (57th)
• Per capita
Increase $3,220 (128th)
Gini (2016)  25.0
low · 18th
HDI (2017) Increase 0.751
high · 88th
Currency Ukrainian hryvnia (₴) (UAH)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
• Summer (DST)
Driving side right
Calling code +380
ISO 3166 code UA
Internet TLD
  1. An independence referendum was held on 1 December, after which Ukrainian independence was finalized on 26 December.
Ніжний ранковий світло
National park "Sviati Hory" (Holy Mountains), Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. Russia is to the north-east of Ukraine, Belarus is to the Northwest, Poland and Slovakia are to the West, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and self-proclaimed Transnistria are to the South West and the Black Sea is to the Southwest.

Ukraine is a republic. The capital of Ukraine is Kiev (Ukrainian: Київ). It was a part of the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1991.

Official language

The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian (Ukrainian: українська мова, [ukrajin’s’ka mova]). In the 2001 census, about 29% of people in Ukraine said that they consider Russian to be their main language. These two East Slavic languages are similar in some ways but different in other ways.

Division of Ukraine

Ukraine is divided into 24 oblasts (regions), one Autonomous Republic of Crimea and two cities with special status — Kiev and Sevastopol.

The largest cities of Ukraine

The largest cities in Ukraine are:

  • Kyiv (from the late 9th century was the capital of Kievan Rus;the capital of Ukraine since the restoration of independent Ukrainian state in 1919)
  • Kharkiv (was the capital of the so-called "Ukrainian Soviet Republic" during first years (1919—1934) of Soviet occupation 1919-1991)
  • Dnipro
  • Donetsk
  • Odesa
  • Zaporizhia
  • Lviv

Name origin

The name "Ukraine" (u-kraina) is variously interpreted as "edge" or "country" or "borderland".


Ancient times

Many different tribes lived on the territory of modern Ukraine since pre-historical times. Most historians believe that the Great Steppe at the North of the Black Sea was a homeland of all Indo-European and Indo-Iranian languages. Some believe it was also a birthplace of the whole Caucasian race. Wends, Goths, Huns, Sclaveni, Avars and other tribes and tribal groups fought among themselves, joined unions, terminated and assimilated each other. By the middle of 4th century AD Antes joined other tribes and established a state under their rule. Their state falled under the pressure of Avars in 602 AD and their name was longer mentioned. Since the 7th century over 10 tribal groups become people with a common name Slavs and create their own state named Rus. The chronicles mention three centers which formed this state: Kuyavia (Kyiv land with Kyiv itself), Slavia (Novgorod land) and Artania (exect location unknown).

Historians still argue about whether Kyiv was founded by Slavs themselves, or they just captured the Khazar fortress which was located on the bank of the Dnieper river, but since the 10th century, it became the capital of the largest and most powerful state in Europe.

Kievan Rus

Kievan Rus, the medieval state of Eastern Slavs. Established by Slavic with the help of Varangian squads whose force was used to integrate separate tribes and their lands into one powerful state. Varangian princes, who ruled Rus from it first years were gradually assimilated by natives, but the dynasty started by semy-legendary Ririk survived and continued to govern their separate principalities even after the collapse of Rus.

At an early stage of its existence Rus destroyed such powerful states as the Khazar Khaganate and Old Great Bulgaria. Rus princes successfully fought against the Byzantine Empire, whose emperors had to pay tribute to them. Rus' finally disintegrated into separate principalities.

In the reign of Volodymyr the Great (980-1015) the Kyivan State almost finished its expansion. It occupied the territory from Peipus, Ladoga and Onega lakes in the north to the river Don, Ros, Sula, Southern Bug in the south, from the Dniester, the Carpathians, the Neman, Western Dvina River in the west to the Volga and the Oka River in the east, its area became about 800,000 km2. Although some of his predecessors already accepted Christianity for themselves, Volodymir decided to convert the entire population of the state to the new religion. Partially with the help of Byzantine missionaries preachers, partly by the brutal violence, he finally made all Kyiv population to be baptized. For this action, the Ukrainian, and later the Russian Orthodox Churches canonized him under the name of Volodimyr the Baptist.

During the reign of his son, Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054), Rus reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power. Rus raised the prestige of Eastern Slavs in Europe, improved the international significance of Kyiv. Rus influenced the political relations in th whole Europe, Western Asia, and in the Middle East. Kyivan princes supported the political, economic, dynastic relations with France, Sweden, England, Poland, Hungary, Norway, Byzantium.

The Rus state also ruled non-Slavic peoples (Finno-Ugric population of the North, Turkic of the East and South, Balts of the West etc.). Those peoples gradually assimilated with the Slavs, and with each other, establishing a framework for the future emergence of three new Eastern-Slavic peoples.

The Kyivan State was an eastern outpost of European Christendom, it kept the movement of nomad hordes to the West, and reduced their onslaught against Byzantium and Central European countries.

After the death of Mstyslav Volodymyrovych (1132), Rus lost its political unity and finally was divided into 15 principalities and lands. Among them Kyiv, Chernygiv, Volodymyr-Suzdal, Novgorod, Smolensk, Polotsk, and Halycian lands and principalities were most large and powerful.

Major political conditions of fragmentation were:

  • The succession among the princes of Kyivan State was different: in some regions lands passed from father to son, in others from the older to the younger brother etc.
  • The political relationship between individual fiefdoms and private lands was weakened, and the better development of certain lands led to the formation of local separatism;
  • In some regions the local aristocracy required a strong prince to rule, in order to protect their rights. On the other hand while the feudal princes and boyars real power increased, and the power of the Grand Prince decreased, more and more of nobles felt priority of their local interests above national ones;
  • There was not created their own dynasty in the Kyiv principality, because all the princely families struggled with each other for possession of Kyiv ;
  • Nomads dramatically intensified their expansion to Kyivan lands.

While Kyiv was the center of all social, economic, political, cultural and ideological life in the country for a long time before, other centers have competed with it from the mid-12th century. There were old powers (Novgorod, Smolensk, Polotsk), as well as new ones (Volodymir-on-Klyazma and Halych).

Numerous princely feuds, large and small wars between different lords, were tearing Rus. However, the ancient Ukrainian state did not fell apart. It only changed form of its government: the personal monarchy was repaced by the federal one, Rus became to be co-ruled by the group of the most influential and powerful princes. Historians call this way of governing "the collective suzerainty." Principality of Kyiv still remained a national center, and the residence of bishops.

In 1206 the new powerful military-feudal Mongolian state headed by Temujin (Genghis Khan) started the war of conquest against his neighbors. In 1223 in the battle near Kalka river 25,000 Tatar-Mongols won a crushing victory over the squads of Southern Rus Princes, who could not come together even in the face of grave danger. Under the leadership of Batu, Genghis Khan's grandson, during the 1237-1238 period they conquered Riazan, Volodymir, Suzdal, and Yaroslavl lands.

In 1240, they attacked Kyiv. The city was plundered and destroyed. According to the legend, the enemy saved governor Dmytriy's life for his personal courage in the battle. Then Kamenetz, Iziaslav, Volodymyr, Halych lost against invaders. Batu was able to attach almost all of Rus to his empire, the Golden Horde, which covered the whole territory from the Urals to the Black Sea,

After the fall of Kyivan State, the political, economic and cultural center of Ukrainian lands was transferred to the Halycian-Volyn Land. In 1245 Prince Danylo of Halych had to admit his dependence on the Golden Horde. Hoping to get help from Catholic Europe in his the struggle for independence, he also made a secret alliance with Poland, Hungary, Masovia and the Teutonic Knights. In 1253 he received the crown from Pope Innocent IV and became a King of Rus. In 1259, due to the lack of military aid from the West, the king was forced to re-recognize the supremacy of the Horde. His successor, Lev I had to take part in theTartar campaigns against Poland and Lithuania.

In 1308 the government moved to Danylo's grandchildren - Andrew and Lev II, who started the new struggle against the Golden Horde allied with the Teutonic knights and princes of Mazowia. However, after their death the last monarch Yuri II again had to claim himself as the Golden Horde vassal. He was murdered in 1340 and his death gave the rise to Poland and Lithuania (the neighbors who had a dynastic right for the throne of Rus) to start a war for the Halycian-Volyn heritage. In 1392 Galicia, with Belz and Chelm Lands were finally icorporated to the Kingdom of Poland and Volhynia to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

At the end of the 14th century, Ukrainian territories were divided between different states. Lithuania seized Kyiv, Chernihiv and Volyn Lands. Poland ruled in Halycian and Podolian. The Southern Ukraine was under the rule of the Crimean Khanate (formed in 1447) and the Eastern under the power of Muscovy. In 1569 Lithuania and Poland merged to the united state called Commonwealth (Polish: Rzecypospolyta) to deal with neighbors, as a result, the central Ukrainian lands of Lithuania came under Polish control.


Rus, or The Kyivan State, Latin: Ruthenia, Greek: Ρωσία; often misspeled as "Kievan State" or even "Kievan Rus", using Russian spelling of its capital Kyiv (Russian: Киев [ˈkiɛf]).

As for the origin and definition of the name "Rus" there is no consensus among researchers. Several versions exist:

  • Normans (Vikings) tribes who called themselves Ruses and founded a state among Slavs, which naturally was called 'Rus Land'. This theory originated in the XVIII century and was called the 'Norman theory'. Its authors are German historians G. Bayer and G. Miller, their followers and associates are called 'Normanists';
  • Ruses were a Slavic tribe which lived in the middle reaches of the Dnieper;
  • Rus was a name of an ancient Slavic god, from which the name of the state comes;
  • Rusa - the Proto-Slavic language word which means 'river';

Ukrainian historians generally adhere to anti-Norman opinion, while not denying the contribution Varangians in the process of formation of Rus state system. Russ, or The Rus Land in their opinion means:

  • The name of the territory where Kyiv, Chernigov and Pereiaslav located (Polans, Severians, Drevlians tribes);
  • The name of the tribes who lived on the banks of the rivers Ros, Rosava, Rostavytsia, Roska etc.;
  • The name of the Kyivan state itself since 9th century.

Cossackian State

At the end of the 15th century, the groups of warriors who called themselves Cossacks appeared on the territory between the borders of Lithuania, Muscovy and the Crimea, in the "wild steppes" of Zaporizhia. From the 16th century the Sich became their military centre. Zaporizhian Cossacks participated in the wars on the side of the Commonwealth: the Livonian War (1558-1583), the Polish-Muscovite War (1605-1618), Khotyn war (1620-1621), Smolensk war (1632-1634). Cossacks also organized their own campaigns in Moldavia, Muscovy, Crimea, on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and in Asia Minor for looting. They willingly became mercenaries, particularly during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).

Due to the legal and social oppression of the nobility Cossacks repeatedly revolted. The largest rebellions were raised under the guidance of: Kosynskiy (1591-1593), Nalyvaiko (1594-1596), Zhmaylo (1625), Fedorovych (1630), Sulima (1635), Pavlyuk (1637) and Ostryanin (1638). Cossacks again and again defended the rights of the Ukrainian population in the Commonwealth who experienced religious and national oppression regularly.

For the conflict in the 1850s see Crimean War.

20th century

In 1917 an independent Ukrainian People's Republic was established. The Red Army conquered it and made it into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Soviet Russia in the 1920s encouraged the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture. In the 1930s this policy changed to making the Ukrainians into Russians. There were mass repressions of Ukrainian poets, historians and linguists. As in other parts of the Soviet Union millions of people starved to death in 1932 and 1933 in the Holodomor.

During the World War II the Ukrainian Insurgent Army tried to reestablish Ukrainian independence. Ukrainians fought against both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. They failed to get independence. Ukraine was occupied by Nazi Germany, then it was reoccupied by Soviet Union.

Under the second Soviet occupation repressions against Ukrainians continued and lasted till dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the Soviet epoch Ukraine was renamed to so-called a "Soviet Socialist Republic" incorporated into Soviet Union. Independence day — 24 August 1991

Modern independence

President elections: 1 December 1991, July 1994, October-November 1999, October-December 2004, January 2010

Parliament elections: March 1994, March 1998, March 2002, March 2006, September 2007 (prematurely), October 2012

Constitution of Ukraine was adopted by Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) 28 July 1996 with changes 8 December 2004.

The political demonstrations in autumn-winter 2004 after the Presidential elections gathered millions of people all over the country. On November 26, 2004, Victor Yuschenko lost the Ukrainian presidential election (Viktor Yanukovych was declared winner). However, Yuschenko and his followers argued that the election had been corrupted. They argued that the election results had been falsified by the Ukrainian government, in support of the opposing candidate Victor Yanukovych. They organized political demonstrations in autumn-winter 2004 that gathered millions of people all over the country. They called the demonstrations The Orange Revolution (Ukrainian: Помаранчева революція). Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was an important ally of Victor Yuschenko during the demonstrations. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine ordered a second round of elections, which Yuschenko won.

Big pro-European Union protests called Euromaidan (Ukrainian: Євромайдан) began in November 2013 and made the President go away in February.

In March 2014, Crimea was referendum. Most countries did not recognize the referendum. The EU, OSCE, USA and Ukraine demanded that Crimea be returned. Several countries sought to use economic sanctions to punish Russia's leaders for this.

In April, 2014 Ukraine military attack against people in Donbass in eastern Ukraine, which has many Russian-speaking people. This began a war to control Donbass.

Presidents of Ukraine

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