Ukraine

Ukraine (i/juːˈkreɪn/ yew-KRAYN; Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after the Russian Federation.

According to a popular and well established theory, the medieval state of Kievan Rus was established by the Varangians in the 9th century as the first historically recorded East Slavic state which emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages until it disintegrated in the 12th century. By the middle of the 14th century, Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers—the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Kingdom of Poland. After the Great Northern War (1700–1721) Ukraine was divided between a number of regional powers and, by the 19th century, the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire with the rest under Austro-Hungarian control. A chaotic period of incessant warfare ensued, with several internationally recognized attempts at independence from 1917 to 1921, following World War I and the Russian Civil War. Ukraine emerged from its own civil war, and on December 30, 1922 Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian SSR's territory was enlarged westward during the civil war shortly before, and after World War II, and further south in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. In 1945, the Ukrainian SSR became one of the founding members of the United Nations.

Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This dissolution started a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine was stricken with an eight-year recession. Since then, however, the economy has experienced a high increase in GDP growth. Ukraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 and the economy plunged. GDP fell 20% from spring 2008 to spring 2009, then leveled off as analysts compared the magnitude of the downturn to the worst years of economic depression during the early 1990s. However, the country remains a globally important market and, as of 2011, is the world's third largest grain exporter.

Ukraine is a unitary state composed of 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimea), and two cities with special status: Kiev, its capital and largest city, and Sevastopol, which houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet under a leasing agreement. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine continues to maintain the second largest military in Europe, after that of Russia. The country is home to 46 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable minorities of Russians (17%), Belarusians and Romanians. Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. Russian is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has heavily influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.

Read more about Ukraine:  Etymology, Geography, Politics, Economy, Demographics, Culture

Other articles related to "ukraine":

UKR - Economy - Tourism
... Main article Tourism in Ukraine Ukraine occupies 8th place in Europe by the number of tourists visiting, according to the World Tourism Organisation rankings ... Ukraine is a destination on the crossroads between central and eastern Europe, between north and south ... Ukraine has vineyards where they produce native wines, ruins of ancient castles, historical parks, Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as a few mosques and synagogues ...
UKR - Demographics - Famines and Migration
... According to The Oxford companion to World War II, "Over 7 million inhabitants of Ukraine, more than one-sixth of the pre-war population, were killed during the Second World War." Significant migration took ... More than one million people moved into Ukraine in 1991–2, mostly from the other former Soviet republics ... In total, between 1991 and 2004, 2.2 million immigrated to Ukraine (among them, 2 million came from the other former Soviet Union states), and 2.5 million emigrated from Ukraine (among them, 1.9 million moved to ...
UKR - Economy
... Main article Economy of Ukraine In Soviet times, the economy of Ukraine was the second largest in the Soviet Union, being an important industrial and agricultural component of the country’s planned economy ... Ukraine’s economy contracted severely following the years after the Soviet dissolution ... Day to day life for the average person living in Ukraine was a struggle ...
UKR - Economy - Transportation
... extends nationwide and connects all the major cities of Ukraine as well as providing cross-border routes to the country’s ... there are only two true motorway standard highways in Ukraine a 175 km stretch of motorway from Kharkiv to Dnipropetrovsk, and a section of the M03 which extends 18 ... Rail transport in Ukraine plays the role of connecting all major urban areas, port facilities and industrial centres with neighbouring countries ...
UKR - Demographics - Religion
... See also Religion in Ukraine The dominant religion in Ukraine is Orthodox Christianity, which is currently split between three Church bodies the Ukrainian Orthodox ... members serving some one million Latin Rite Catholics in Ukraine ... The Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine is the largest group, with more than 150,000 members and about 3000 clergy ...