Geography: Ukraine lies in Eastern Europe, and is bordered by Belarus, Moldova and Russia and new EU members Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Has access to Black and Azov Sea.
The territory is 603,700 square kilometers.
Capital: Kiev is a capital of Ukraine with the population of nearly three million. Other big cities are: Kharkiv, Dnipropetrivsk, Donetsk, Odessa.
Population: 45.7 million. Over 75% of the population is Ukrainian. Russians are making up the largest minority with 17%. A minority of Muslim Tatars lives on the Crimea peninsula.
Language: Ukrainian is the country’s sole official language. Russian however is the main language in daily life in the east, south, and the Crimean peninsula.
Religion: The majority of the country is Orthodox, with followers split between the Moscow patriarchate and the Kiev patriarchate. Greek Catholicism is widely practiced in the west of the country.
History: Much of modern-day Ukraine was part of the Russian empire under the Tsars although its northwest belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Forced collectivization of agriculture under Stalin in the early 1930s led to a famine in which millions died and is remembered today in Ukraine as the Golodomor (death by starvation).
After the Russian Revolution, Ukraine became part of the USSR as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It was occupied by the Nazis in World War II, after which the western territories became part of the country.
Growing opposition to Soviet rule culminated in the Supreme Soviet’s ratification of a declaration of independence on August 24, 1991, confirmed by referendum on December 1.
The world’s worst nuclear accident took place in Ukraine on April 26, 1986, at the nuclear power station at Chernobyl, killing 30 people in an explosion and a further 2,500 died of related illnesses.
Economy: Ukraine’s agricultural riches accounted for 40 percent of the Soviet Union’s agriculture output by value. Heavy industry and coal mining plays a leading role in the national economy, especially in the east.
Currency: The Hryvna, introduced in August 1996, which lost 60 percent of its value in the recent economic crisis.
Defence: After the Soviet collapse, Ukraine was the world’s third-largest nuclear power but signed a treaty with Moscow and Washington in 1994 under which it handed over its warheads to Russia as part of US-Russian disarmament.
Under Yushchenko, Ukraine had targeted NATO membership but this is vehemently opposed by his opponents.
– Four out of ten European transporting routes cross Ukrainian territory.
– Ukraine is in possession of more than 25% of fertile black soils of the word.
– Ukraine is a large corn producer (It is one of three largest barley producer). Ukraine is one of the largest producers of the largest sugar beet producers, along with France, Germany and USA. Ukraine is also one of seven largest producers of sugar, seed-oil, pork and potatoes. It is one of five largest honey producers.
– Ukraine is on the fourth place among all the world’s countries by the quantity of people with higher education. Ukrainians is one of the most educated nations, and the number of people with higher education per capita is above the average European level.
– Ukrainian «Yuzhmash» (Dnipropetrovsk city) produces the most ecological carrier rockets. They are used to deliver commercial cargo to outer space, as a part of international program «Sea launch».