European University Programme
Located in southeast Europe, the country consists largely of fertile black soil steppes. Mountainous areas include the Carpathians in the southwest and the Crimean chain in the south. Ukraine is bordered by Belarus on the north, by Russia on the north and east, by the Black Sea on the south, by Moldova and Romania on the southwest, and by Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on the west.
Ukraine was known as? Kievan Rus? (from which Russia is a derivative) up until the 16th century. In the 9th century, Kyiv was the major political and cultural center in eastern Europe. Kievan Rus reached the height of its power in the 10th century and adopted Byzantine Christianity. The Mongol conquest in 1240 ended Kievan power. From the 13th to the 16th century, Kyiv was under the influence of Poland and western Europe. The negotiation of the Union of Brest-Litovsk in 1596 divided the Ukrainians into Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic faithful. In 1654, Ukraine asked the czar of Moscovy for protection against Poland, and the Treaty of Pereyasav signed that year recognized the suzerainty of Moscow. The agreement was interpreted by Moscow as an invitation to take over Kiev, and the Ukrainian state was eventually absorbed into the Russian Empire.
After the Russian Revolution, Ukraine declared its independence from Russia on Jan. 28, 1918, and several years of warfare ensued with several groups. The Red Army finally was victorious over Kiev, and in 1920 Ukraine became a Soviet republic. In 1922, Ukraine became one of the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In the 1930s, the Soviet government's enforcement of collectivization met with peasant resistance, which in turn prompted the confiscation of grain from Ukrainian farmers by Soviet authorities; the resulting famine took an estimated 5 million lives. Ukraine was one of the most devastating Soviet republics after World War II. (For details on World War II, see Headline History, World War II.) On April 26, 1986, the nation's nuclear power plant at Chernobyl was the site of the world's worst nuclear accident. On Oct. 29, 1991, the Ukrainian parliament voted to shut down the reactor within two years' time and asked for international assistance in dismantling it.
Religions: Orthodox (includes Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox (UAOC), Ukrainian Orthodox - Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), Ukrainian Orthodox - Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish
Note: Ukraine's population is overwhelmingly Christian; the vast majority - up to two-thirds - identify themselves as Orthodox, but many do not specify a particular branch; the UOC-KP and the UOC-MP each represent less than a quarter of the country's population, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church accounts for 8-10%, and the UAOC accounts for 1-2%; Muslim and Jewish adherents each compose less than 1% of the total population (2013 est.)
Literacy rate: 99.7% (2011 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $333.7 billion; per capita $7,400. Real growth rate: 0.4%. Inflation: 0.7%. Unemployment: 8% officially registered; large number of unregistered or underemployed workers; International Labor Organization est.: 7%. Arable land: 53.85%. Agriculture: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables; beef, milk. Labor force: 22.17 million (2013 est.); industry 18.5%, agriculture 15%, services 65.7% (2008). Industries: coal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food processing. Natural resources: iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land. Exports: $71.14 billion (2013 est.): ferrous and nonferrous metals, fuel and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, food products. Imports: $87.21 billion (2013 est.): energy, machinery and equipment, chemicals. Major trading partners: Russia, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, China, Poland, Belarus (2012).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 12.182 million (2012); mobile cellular: 59.344 million (2012). Radio broadcast stations: AM 134, FM 289, shortwave 4 (2007). Radios: 45.05 million (1997). Television broadcast stations: at least 33 (plus 21 repeater stations that relay broadcasts from Russia) (1997). Televisions: 18.05 million (1997). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2.173 million (2012). Internet users: 7.77 million (2009).
Transportation: Railways: total: 21,619 km (2012). Highways: total: 169,694 km; paved: 166,095 km; unpaved: 3,599 km (2012). Waterways: 1,672 km (2012). Ports and harbors: Feodosiya (Theodosia), Illichivsk, Mariupol', Mykolayiv, Odesa, Yuzhnyy. Airports: 187 (2013).
International disputes: 1997 boundary delimitation treaty with Belarus remains unratified due to unresolved financial claims, stalling demarcation and reducing border security; delimitation of land boundary with Russia is complete with preparations for demarcation underway; the dispute over the boundary between Russia and Ukraine through the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov is suspended due to the occupation of Crimea by Russia; Moldova and Ukraine operate joint customs posts to monitor transit of people and commodities through Moldova's break-away Transnistria Region, which remains under the auspices of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe-mandated peacekeeping mission comprised of Moldovan, Transnistrian, Russian, and Ukrainian troops; the ICJ ruled largely in favor of Romania in its dispute submitted in 2004 over Ukrainian-administered Zmiyinyy/Serpilor (Snake) Island and Black Sea maritime boundary delimitation; Romania opposes Ukraine's reopening of a navigation canal from the Danube border through Ukraine to the Black Sea.