Ukraine is an East European state that occupies an area of about 233,062 sq miles. It is the second-biggest European state and the forty-sixth largest on the planet. It is the thirty-second most populous nation on earth with over 42.5 million people.
The Ukrainian terrain has been inhabited since 32,000 BC, and it was an important center for the East Slavic culture, where the Kievan Rus state was formed. After the fragmentation of the Kievan Rus state during the thirteenth century, the area was contested, divided and ruled by numerous powers like Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Poland, and Lithuania among others. A new state known as the Cossack republic emerged in the region and it thrived during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but it was divided between Russia and Poland. The area was merged by Russia in the 1940s and named the Ukrainian SSR. Ukraine became an independent state in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The Origin Of The Name Ukraine
There are numerous hypotheses as to the exact origin of the name Ukraine. The word "Ukraine’" was initially used to describe a particular part of Kievan Rus during the twelfth century. The mainstream view claims that the "Ukraine" means marches, frontier regions, and borderland while more recent Ukrainian Scholars claimed that it means "region, country’" or "homeland". The name "ukraina’" referred to the southeastern borderland near Kyiv during the sixteenth century. The name became synonymous with Kyiv-Voivodeship and later the entire area. It was later adopted as the name of the state.
Ukraine is the largest state that is entirely situated in Europe. It is bigger than metropolitan France but smaller than Russia. Ukraine has a 1,729 miles long shoreline. The Ukrainian terrain is composed of plateaus and fertile plains that are crossed by numerous rivers including Southern Bug, Dniester, Seversky Donets, and the Dnieper among others. The country has diverse geographic features ranging from lowlands to highlands. The only mountains found in Ukraine are the Crimean Mountains, Hora Hoverla, and Carpathian mountains. The 6,762 ft high Hora Hoverla is the highest mountain in Ukraine. The region also has numerous highlands including the Central Russian Upland, the Near-Dnipro Upland, and the Volyn-Podillia Upland. Some of the natural resources found in the Ukrainian territory include mercury, nickel, kaolin, titanium, graphite, oil, natural gas, coal, manganese, and iron ore. Ukraine faces numerous environmental problems including radiation contamination from 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear-Power plant catastrophe, water and air pollution, and deforestation, among others.
According to the 2001 Ukrainian-Census, over 77.8% of the residents were Ukrainians. Other ethnic groups found in Ukraine include Bulgarians (0.4%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), Belarusians (0.6%), Russians (17.3%), and Armenians (0.2%) among others. Over 67.2% of the residents live in urban areas. Kiev is the most populous Ukrainian city with a population of about 2.9 million people followed by Kharkiv (1,439,036), and Odessa (1,016,515). Even though Russian is widely used in the southern and western Ukraine, Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian 2001 census, Russian was the mother tongue of 29.6% of the residents while Ukrainian was the mother tongue of 67.5% of the residents.