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About Ukraine

ABOUT UKRAINE

Area: 603,700 sq km, just smaller than Texas and one of the biggest countries in Europe

Population: 46.7 million

Capital City: Kiev (Kyiv)

Kiev (Kyiv) Foundation: around 482 A.D.

President: Viktor Yushchenko

Geography: Ukraine is bordered by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova on the west and south-west, and by Belarus and Russia on the north and north-east; on the south, Ukraine is bordered by the Black Sea (2.782 km of coastline) and the Sea of Azov. Ukraine therefore holds a strategic position at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Russia. The longest river is Dnipro, and the biggest mountain chain is the Carpathians. It is in the Carpathians that the geographical centre of Europe is located. Among 454 cities and towns of Ukraine the biggest are: Kyiv (population 2.6 million); Kharkiv (population 1.6 million); Dnipropetrovsk (population 1.1 million); Odessa (population 1.1 million); Donetsk (population 1.1 million), Lviv (population 802 thousand) and Zaporozhye (almost 800 thousand).

Currency:Ukrainian Hryvna (UAH)

Language: Ukrainian (official language), Russian is spoken approximately by half of the Ukraines population

Climate and Natural Resources:Ukraine climate is temperate continental, and subtropical at the southern coast of the Crimea. The mean temperature in January is 5o C (+ 23 F) and + 20o C (68 F) in July.
95 percent of the Ukrainian territory is spread out over the Eastern European Plain; 5 percent of the territory is taken up by mountainous areas; 14 percent of the land is covered with forests; 4 percent water reservoirs; 1.6 percent swamps. 5 percent of the world mineral resources are concentrated in Ukraine (coal; iron and manganese ores; uranium; graphite, and rock-salt).

Religion: Ukraine is tolerant to religious confessions of all kinds. The biggest religious denominations are the Orthodox Churches of the Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates. 51.6 percent of the Ukrainian population declare themselves Orthodox Christians.There are a number of other Christian confessions: Protestant, Evangelical Christian Baptist, and others; Judaism and Islam are practiced religions as well. There are 262 Judaic communities and 462 Muslim communities in Ukraine.

Geo-Political History: Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe.Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.During the latter part of the 18th century, however, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was re-conquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule, one that yielded two artificial and unspeakable famines (1921-22 and 1932-33). In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for another 7 to 8 million deaths. With the 1991 dissolution of the USSR, independence for Ukraine was again achieved. Following the Orange Revolution, on December 26, 2004, Viktor Yushchenko became the president of Ukraine.