Ukraine’s international border is 4,345 miles in length and is shared with the following seven countries:
Most of these borders were inherited by Ukraine from the Ukrainian SSR after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The entire border does not feature any enclaves and is therefore consistent. Part of the border also represents the border of the European Union as four of Ukraine’s bordering countries are members of the European Union; Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland. Of the bordering countries, it is with Russia that Ukraine shares the longest border as it is 1,282 miles in length. The 60.8-mile long Ukraine-Slovakia border is Ukraine’s shortest international border. The country also has a maritime border in the Black Sea where Ukraine has an Exclusive Economic Zone, and Azov Sea. Cumulatively Ukraine’s maritime border is 842 miles in length and is shared with Romania and Russia.
Hungary is one of Ukraine’s bordering countries, with which it shares a border stretching about 85 miles in length. The course of the Tisza River defines about 53 miles of the international border. The border was established while Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union after the Zakarpattia administrative area was transferred from Hungary to the Ukrainian SSR in the mid-20th century. Ukraine retained the delineation of the border after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the late 20th century. Ukraine’s M26 Highway crosses the border on two sections which are also border checkpoints. The border is also crossed by a freight railway that connects the Ukrainian town of Solovka to Eperjeske in Hungary.
West of Ukraine is Poland, a member of the EU which is also a bordering country. The length of the border varies between 332 miles and 329 miles. The border was first delineated in 1919 after the Ukrainian-Polish War and the subsequent 1920 Treaty of Warsaw. The demarcation of the border was revised after Ukraine became part of the Soviet Union in 1921. During this period of its history, the border was heavily guarded making cross-border movement rare and dangerous. The border was later ratified by the two countries in May 1992 soon after Ukraine regained its independence. The border is regarded as the European Union’s most-crossed eastern border, as a testament to a large number of cross-border movements recorded on the border with an estimated 19 million transboundary movements being recorded in 2009. However, the border is infamous for the high number of illegal crossings and is a crucial route for illegal immigration and smuggling into the EU. There are a total of 11 border crossings on the border, most of which are comprised of road, rail, passenger, and cargo crossings.
Moldova is situated southwest of Ukraine, and the two countries share a long international border. The border is 759 miles in length making it Ukraine’s second-longest international border shared with another country. 166 miles of the border follows the course of rivers. The tri-point connecting Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania act as the start of the border, from where it stretches southwest ending at the Black Sea. The 67 permanent border crossings on the Ukraine-Moldova border are classified into three groups; local, international, and interstate border crossings each of which serving different purposes. These border crossings have guards drawn from the two countries, except for the 25 border crossings on the Transnistria region where Moldova has posted no border guards.
Romania is another of Ukraine’s bordering countries, and the two countries share a 381-mile long international border. The border starts at the Ukraine-Moldova-Romania tri-point and extends south to the Black Sea, and is made of two sections, the northern and southern sections. The border also represents part of the EU’s international border, as Romania is a recognized member of the EU. The Romania-Ukraine international border was first delineated as part of the Paris Peace Treaties signed in 1947 in the aftermath of the Second World War. However, the modern border was established in line with the Treaty of Good Neighborly and Cooperation Relations signed in 1997 by the two nations. The maritime border between the two countries is 21 miles in length and is located in the Black Sea. However, for many years the two countries were embroiled in a territorial dispute emanating from the demarcation of the maritime border. The dispute was later resolved in a court hearing in the International Court of Justice in 2009 that saw Romania being granted the largest portion (about 80%) of the disputed area, allowing the nation to exploit the billions of cubic feet of petroleum deposits underneath that particular part of the Black Sea. In 2014, the two nations agreed on local border traffic in a provisional agreement. The agreement applies to four of Ukraine’s administrative oblasts; Odessa, Transcarpathia, Chernivtsi, and Ivano-Frankivsk.
Russia borders Ukraine to the northeast of the country. The international border separating the two nations is 1,282 miles long, making it the longest of the seven international borders of Ukraine. The two countries each have five oblasts extending and touches the international border. The border was delineated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Ukraine as an independent state in the early 1990s. Cross-border movement on the border is restricted, with Ukraine even employing biometric controls on Russian visitors. The nation also aims to construct a wall along the international border in a multi-billion-dollar project referred to as “Project Wall,” as a measure of securing the border. Ukraine has passed legislation requiring Russian visitors intending to cross the border inform local authorities of their intentions well in advance.
Ukraine recognizes the importance of securing its international borders and has therefore heavily invested in border security. The mandate of guarding the state border of Ukraine lies with the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, a law enforcement agency established under the country’s Constitution. The agency was established by law in 2003, replacing the Ukrainian Border Troops. The agency is made up of an estimated 50,000 personnel. The agency is well-equipped and even has different types of aircraft at its disposal including five Mil Mi-8 helicopters.