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Flag of Ukraine
Coat of arms of Ukraine
flag coat of arms
official language Ukrainian
capital city Kiev
form of government and government semi-presidential republic
head of state President
Volodymyr Zelenskyy
head of government Prime Minister
Denys Schmyhal
surface 603,700 km²
576,800 (de facto; Crimean Crisis ) km²
population 41,830,619, excluding AR Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (April 1, 2020)
population density 77 inhabitants per km²
population development - 0.5% (2019 estimate)
gross domestic product
  • total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP/pop. (nom.)
  • GDP/pop. (PPP)
Human Development Index 0.779 ( 74th ) (2019)
currency Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)
founding November 7, 1917:
Ukrainian People's Republic

April 29, 1918:
Ukrainian state

November 1, 1918: West Ukrainian People's Republic

March 10, 1919:
Ukrainian SSR

August 24, 1991: Independence from
the Soviet Union

independence August 24, 1991
(by the Soviet Union )
national anthem Shche ne vmerla Ukrayiny ( Ще не вмерла України )
national holiday August 24 ( Independence Day )
time zone UTC+2
UTC+3 (March to October)
License Plate u.a
ISO 3166 UA , UKR, 804
Internet TLD .etc
telephone area code +380
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Ukraine ([ ukʁ̥aˈiːnə ] or [ uˈkʁ̥aɛ̯nə ], [ ʊˈkraenə ], [ uˈkraɪ̯nə ]; Ukrainian Україна , [ ukrɑˈjinɑ ] Ukrajina , Russian Украина Ukraina [ ukraˈ(j)i ] ˑ ) is a state in Eastern Europe . With an area of ​​603,700 square kilometers, it is the largest state whose borders lie entirely within Europe. It has the second largest national territory in Europe after Russia . Ukraine borders Russia to the northeast and east, Belarus to the north, Poland , Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov to the south. The country's capital and largest metropolis is Kiev , other metropolitan areas are Kharkiv , Dnipro , Donetsk and Odessa .

Kievan Rus' was the medieval progenitor of Russia, Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus. The territory of today's Ukraine alternated between claims to power, but developed independent identities. Ukraine has been independent since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 . In February 2014, as a result of the Euromaidan protests, armed conflict erupted in parts of eastern Ukraine and has continued to this day. Crimea and parts of southern eastern Ukraine have not been under the control of the Ukrainian government since 2014 .


The first mention of the word ukraina is found in the Kiev Hypatius Chronicle for the year 1187 with reference to the Pereyaslavl principality . Thereafter, this word is found in chronicles in reference to different geographic regions of Rus' , even far beyond the area of ​​present-day Ukraine.

The traditional etymological interpretation of the country's name refers to the Old East Slavic word ukraina , which had the meaning "border area, military border" and corresponded to the western term Mark . This view is dominant in both international and Ukrainian historiography, supported by national historian Mykhailo Hrushevskyi and the Encyclopedia of Ukraine , among others. Most authors agree that this name, which initially referred to the border area to the so-called wild field with its Turkic cavalry nomads, existed for a long time without an ethnic reference. However, there are different opinions as to when the word Ukraine became a parallel term for the ecclesiastical and officially used name in the Russian Empire , Little Russia .

However, since the East Slavic root krai can mean both "edge, border" and "territory, land", the view that the word ukraina in chronicles since the 12th century meant "independent dominion, principality” was used. However, the accompanying assertion, such as Hryhorij Piwtorak , that there was always a strict distinction between ukraina "principality" and okraina "borderland", contradicts a large number of primary sources; it is also contradicted by numerous other authors.


The Eurasian Steppe Belt , Humanity's Cultural and Economic Exchange Corridor
The Crimean Mountains about 1,200 m above sea level

About 95% of Ukraine lies on the territory of the East European Plain , which is why it is counted almost exclusively in Eastern Europe. Depending on the definition, the remaining 5% belong to Central Europe (the Carpathians and Lviv ) and Southeastern Europe ( Odessa and the Budschak ).

Other landscapes outside the Great Plain are found in southern western Ukraine , where the country shares the Forest Carpathians and Pannonian Plains , and in the extreme south. The highest mountain in the country is Hoverla in Chornohora , which reaches a height of 2061  m . The highest peak in Crimea is the Roman Kosch at 1545 meters.

Large lowlands (Ukrainian Низовина ) such as the Dnieper lowlands and the Black Sea depression extend particularly in the north and south of the country on the part belonging to the East European Plain . The terrain there reaches altitudes between 0 and 200 m. Due to the small differences in altitude , the rivers in this area flow very slowly. In the lowlands, there are smaller gas and oil deposits , particularly in the Central Ukrainian Oblast of Poltava , but these are not sufficient for the country to be self-sufficient. Hopes are placed in the development of fields in the Black Sea.

In the central part of the country, higher-lying areas with terrain heights between 200 and 470 m ( Kamula ) stretch from west to east , which are called plates (Ukrainian Височина ). These include the Podolian Plateau , the Dnieper Highlands and the Donets Plateau . These slabs are composed mostly of Palaeozoic rocks that have been uplifted by the formation of the Alpid mountain belt over the past 10 million years. They are rich in resources such as iron ore and coal . The largest ore deposits are found in the Kryvbass around the town of Kryvyi Rih in western Dnipropetrovsk Oblast , while the coal deposits are mostly in the Donets Basin area around the city of Donetsk . The plates are cut through by numerous smaller and larger rivers, some of which have cut deeply into the terrain.

Northwest of Ukraine is called Volhynia . Together with Galicia , this landscape is counted among the "germ cells" of an independent Ukraine, since these areas were only ceded from Poland to the Soviet Union in the course of the Second World War . Until then, parts of western Ukraine, with a few brief exceptions, had almost never belonged to an empire ruled from Moscow. Since the smashing of the Galician Russophile movement by Austria, the majority of the population has been very reserved towards Russia. However, the area in which Ukrainian culture and language originated is probably in the Dnieper region south-east of Kiev, where the Cossack state existed for a short time in the 17th century.

The geographic center of the country is near the settlement of Dobrovelychkivka in Kirovohrad Oblast .

At the end of the 19th century, Austrian engineers came to the conclusion that the geographical center of Europe was in the village of Dilove in Zakarpattia Oblast . Since there are different methods for calculating the center and the eastern borders of Europe are arbitrary and therefore not clearly defined, several other places claim the title for themselves.

climate and soils

climate diagram
J f M A M J J A S O N D
Temperature in °Cprecipitation in mm
Source: Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center, Data: 1961–1990
Monthly average temperatures and rainfall for Kiev
Jan Feb mar apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov dec
Max. temperature ( °C ) −2.6 −1.1 4.3 13.6 20.5 23.5 24.5 24.0 19.1 12.3 4.8 0.1 O 12
Minimum temperature (°C) −8.2 −6.8 −2.1 4.8 10.7 13.8 15.1 14.4 10.0 4.8 0.0 −4.6 O 4.4
Precipitation ( mm ) 47.7 46.0 38.9 48.3 52.5 72.5 88.0 69.2 46.7 35.1 51.3 51.7 Σ 647.9
rainy days ( d ) 16.7 14.2 12.9 11.6 11.8 13.1 13.3 10.8 10.2 9.9 14.8 17.4 Σ 156.7
Jan Feb mar apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov dec
C h
_ _ _ _

  Jan Feb mar apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov dec
Source: Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center, Data: 1961–1990

Apart from the mountainous areas and the southwestern and southern coastal regions, Ukraine can be divided into three major zones in terms of climate, soil and vegetation. In the north-west it shares part of the Pripyat Marshes , which were particularly shaped by earlier glacial advances from Scandinavia during the ice ages . Here you will find the worst soils in the country. In addition, this region was particularly hard hit by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The area receives a relatively large amount of precipitation (500–750 mm), the summers are mild, with average temperatures in the month of July ranging from 17 to 19 °C.

This zone is adjoined to the south and south-east by the so-called forest- steppe zone , in which formerly existing forest stands have mostly already been cleared. Here there are extensive loess plains that arose in the Ice Age under periglacial conditions. Mostly very fertile black earth soils have developed from the loess , which are among the most productive in the world. The amount of precipitation is between 350 and 400 mm, the July average temperature is 20 °C. Overall, this area offers very good conditions for agricultural use. However, the soils are very susceptible to erosion if they are tilled incorrectly, as often happened in Soviet times .

In the south-east is the steppe zone , which has relatively little rainfall, sometimes under 250 mm a year. Here, too, the summers are relatively hot, with average temperatures in July sometimes exceeding 23 °C. The fertile black and chestnut brown soils in this area could only be used from the middle of the 20th century, after extensive irrigation systems had been built through the construction of dams on the large rivers (see also: reservoirs in the Ukraine ).

The coastal regions on the Crimean peninsula and in south-western Bessarabia , the Budschak , are very fertile and, due to the favorable climatic conditions with mild winters, are used in particular for growing fruit and vines .

bodies of water

Dnepr in Kiev

The southern coast of Ukraine has a 2782 km portion of the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov . Among the numerous rivers that cross the country and flow into the Black Sea there are the Dnieper , the Southern Bug and the Dniester . To the west, the Danube forms a 54 km border between Romania and Ukraine . Here is also the Jalpuhsee , the largest natural lake in Ukraine. Other large rivers are the Desna , the Prut , the Horyn and the Siwerskyj Donets . Many smaller rivers are characterized by swampy banks with reed beds. The Kerch Strait , a 40 km strait, connects the Black Sea to the Sea of ​​Azov and separates the Crimean Peninsula from the Taman Peninsula (Russia). With a size of 90,000 km², the largest swamp area in Europe stretches across Polesia .

In the northwest of the country lies the Shazk National Park with Lake Svityaz .

islands and peninsulas

The Black Sea islands include Jarylhach , Tusla and Snake Island (owned by Ukraine since 1948) in the south of the country. By far the best-known peninsula is Crimea , which – from the point of view of the Ukrainian state and the vast majority of the United Nations General Assembly – has belonged to Ukraine since 1954, but has been claimed and effectively controlled by Russia since 2014. The island of Khortytsia in the urban area of Zaporizhzhia is the largest Dnieper island. Numerous other river islands of the Dnieper are located near Kiev and in its estuary delta on the Black Sea .

nature and landscape

The landscape in the Ukrainian Carpathians

vegetation, flora

The last warm temperate primeval forests in Europe exist in the Carpathians . They have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since July 2007 . Almost 16% of the country's area is forested (mainly with beech , pine , birch , aspen , oak , alder , ash and maple ). In addition to the Carpathians, the Dnieper Basin and the Pripyat Basin form the most important ecosystems. Cucumbers , tomatoes , peppers , onions , legumes and eggplant are the most commonly grown vegetables. Typical fruits include grapes , pears , melons , peaches , plums and apricots . The most important crop is wheat . A lot of rye , barley , potatoes , maize and especially buckwheat are also grown next to it. The sunflower is the national plant .


In addition to the natural diversity of species, there are pheasants , cranes and peacocks . In addition, exotic animals such as the African ostrich were also reintroduced into the wild in the Askanija-Nova nature reserve . Small monkeys also live there. One of Crimea's traditional breeding animals is the camel . The seas around the peninsula are home to a number of dolphin and whale species. Aquatic turtles , lizards , and snakes are found throughout the country. Raccoons , wild boars , bears , wolves and deer are forest dwellers and are therefore most commonly found in western and northern Ukraine. In Askanija-Nova there are over 100 specimens of the endangered Przewalski's horse , introduced to Europe from Mongolia around 1900 . The tarpan lived in the wild in Ukraine until 200 years ago , when it was finally exterminated. The Ukrainian steppe cattle were widespread in Ukraine until the beginning of the 20th century .

natural reserve

After serious environmental disasters such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the tanker accident in the Black Sea in 2010, the government has set itself the goal of carrying out reforms for nature conservation. There are 18 national parks in Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian Society for Conservation of Nature .


Population pyramid Ukraine 2016


In 2015, the population of Ukraine including Crimea was approximately 44 million (42 million without Crimea). Ukraine's population has been declining since the end of the Soviet era due to low life expectancy, emigration and a collapsing birth rate. In 2016, there were 10.5 births and 14.4 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants, giving Ukraine one of the highest death rates in the world. The fertility rate per woman was 1.54 children. The median age was 40.4 years. Due to high male mortality rates, Ukraine has a female surplus. Population growth was −0.4 percent in 2016, making Ukraine one of the countries with the fastest population loss in the world. By 2050, Ukraine is expected to have a population of 36 million.

In 2017, 5.9 million people born in Ukraine lived abroad. Most of these lived in Russia (3.3 million), the United States (380,000), Kazakhstan (350,000), Germany (260,000) and Italy (240,000). In Ukraine itself, 11.2% of the population was foreign-born in 2017, most of them in Russia.

Historical population development of the minorities
Population development 1950–2019 with a peak in 1990–91

Before World War I , a German-speaking minority of several hundred thousand people lived in what is now Ukraine ( Galicia , Bukovina , Volhynia , Black Sea coast ); today there are still around 30,000 to 40,000.

Until 1944, several million Poles lived in the regions of Galicia, Bukovina and Volhynia, which are now part of western Ukraine. In 1944, massacres of the Polish population took place in Volhynia in particular, killing more than 40,000 Poles. After the war, the Polish population was expelled in the course of the annexation of the Polish lands east of the Bug .

Until the Second World War , many Jews lived in Ukraine (e.g. in shtetl settlements), but most of them were murdered by SS task forces during the occupation by the German Reich . Ukraine was one of the main areas of distribution of the Yiddish language . Since then, the survivors have emigrated to the USA , to Israel and, to a small extent, to Germany . In 2001, around 100,000 Jews were still living in Ukraine . Their number continues to decrease due to emigration and the general decline in the birth rate.

Woman in traditional costume, wearing the “ Vyshyvanka ”, a blouse with intricate Ukrainian cross-stitch embroidery and the traditional wreath of flowers , 1916.
Ruzhnyk – a woven linen cloth with Ukrainian cross-stitch embroidery, a symbol of hospitality and a staple of folk art . Each region has its own motifs, compositional characteristics and colors that are handed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. Rushnyk Museum in Pereyaslav .
Ensemble for traditional Ukrainian dances


Majority ethnic groups in the raions of Ukraine (2001)
Proportion of ethnic Ukrainians in the total population in the regions of Ukraine (2001)
Share of Russian native speakers in the total population in the regions of Ukraine (2001)

According to the official census of 2001, 77.8% Ukrainians, 17.3% Russians and over 100 other ethnic groups live in Ukraine. The Russians of Transcarpathia are a minority that is not recognized by the state. In addition to the ten largest ethnic groups, there are also smaller minorities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, mainly Greeks , Roma , Azerbaijanis , Georgians and Germans . Ukrainians make up the majority of the population in all regions except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. In these two regions, Russians are by far the predominant ethnic group, other areas with high Russian populations of 39.0% and 38.2% respectively (2001 census) are the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in south-eastern Ukraine. Russians mostly live in cities in Ukraine. In rural areas, only 6.9% of the population is Russian, while Ukrainians make up 87.0%.

ethnicity number in 2001 proportion in 2001 share in 1989
Ukrainians 37,541,700 77.8% 72.7%
Russians 8,334,100 17.3% 22.1%
Romanians / Moldovans 508,600 0.8% 0.9%
Belarusians 275,800 0.6% 0.9%
Crimean Tatars 248,200 0.5% 0.0%
Bulgarians 204,600 0.4% 0.5%
Magyars 156,600 0.3% 0.4%
Poland 144,100 0.3% 0.4%
Jews 103,600 0.2% 0.9%
Armenians 99,900 0.2% 0.1%


The different historical experiences of multi-ethnic states in the regions of Ukraine complicate the language question:

The vast majority of the population is proficient in both the Ukrainian language and the Russian language . However, Russian lost its status as an official language after independence in 1991. Both languages ​​are East Slavic languages and are therefore related. A widespread oral hybrid of Ukrainian with Russian is Surzhyk .

In the census of 2001, the mother tongue of the population was determined according to the respondents themselves. A population share of 67.5% was determined for the Ukrainian language. The difference in the nationality distribution can be explained by the fact that 14.8% of the Ukrainians stated Russian as their mother tongue, but only 3.9% of the Russians stated Ukrainian. A prominent example of this is the Ukrainian Yulia Tymoshenko , whose mother tongue is Russian. The members of the smaller nationality groups predominantly named Russian as their mother tongue, with Ukrainian only dominating among the Poles. 29.6% of the residents said Russian was their mother tongue. In most western and central Ukrainian oblasts, the census revealed a Ukrainian native speaker percentage of more than 90%. In Ternopil Oblast , the proportion of Ukrainian native speakers reached 98.3%. In most southern Ukrainian oblasts, two-thirds of the population reported the Ukrainian language as their first language. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol , the proportion of Ukrainian speakers reached only 10.1% and 6.8%, respectively. In the eastern Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv Oblast , Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and Zaporizhia Oblast , Ukrainian native speakers represent the language majority with values ​​between 50.2% and 67%. A minority is formed by Ukrainian native speakers in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast with shares of 24.1% and 30.0%.

Russian native speakers form the language majority in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol with 77.0% and 90.6% respectively. Many native Russian speakers in Crimea are ethnic Ukrainians and members of other minorities. In Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast , the proportion of Russian native speakers is 74.9% and 68.8%, respectively. In southern Ukraine (excluding the Crimean Peninsula), the proportion of Russian native speakers is usually around 30%. In northern and central Ukraine, the proportion of native Russian speakers ranges from 1.2% in Ternopil Oblast to 10.3% in Chernihiv Oblast . In the city of Kiev and in the Sumy Oblast , the values ​​deviate from this with 25.4% and 15.6% respectively.

A 2011 statistic from the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine shows 42.8% of the total Ukrainian population as speaking Ukrainian at home, while 38.7% use Russian there and 17.1% use both languages. Another survey from 1993 found that 53% of the population prefers to use Russian in conversations, a figure that also appeared in a 2013 statistic. Several surveys revealed a Russian-speaking majority in regions where the official census showed that Ukrainian predominated, including the Kharkov and Odessa oblasts. In the west, 94.4% speak Ukrainian, 2.5% Surzhyk and 3.1% Russian, while e.g. For example, in the south, which also includes the Crimean peninsula, 82.3% speak Russian, 12.4% Surzhyk and 5.2% Ukrainian.

Since independence, however, the language situation has shifted somewhat in favor of Ukrainian. In 1989, according to official statistics, the proportion of Ukrainian native speakers was 64.7%; by 2001 it rose to 67.5%. The proportion of Russian native speakers in 1989 was 32.8% of the total population by 2001, it fell to 29.6%. Since 1991, Ukrainian has been the country's only official language, although large sections of the population are calling for Russian to be reintroduced as the second official language. Since 1991, Ukrainian has become a compulsory subject in all schools and increasingly also the language of instruction. However, at many Ukrainian universities, especially in the technical field, classes are held mainly or only in Russian due to the lack of Ukrainian specialist literature.

The “language issue” is a hot topic in Ukrainian politics. The Russia-oriented Party of Regions and the Communist Party advocate complete equality of Russian as a second official language. However, the "orange", Western-oriented parties around former Presidents Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko as well as nationalist parties rejected this.

An active policy of Ukrainization was pursued under Viktor Yushchenko ; for example, Russian was pushed back in schools and in everyday life and numerous measures were introduced to promote the use of the Ukrainian language. However, President Yanukovych, who was elected in 2010, rescinded many of these measures, against which the opposition around Yulia Tymoshenko vehemently protested.

Yanukovych also initially opposed the introduction of Russian as the second state language, since the conditions in parliament made it impossible to amend the Ukrainian constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority. In addition, Yanukovych feared protests from the nationalist camp. In the spring of 2012, however, his Party of the Regions took up the language issue again. Despite violent, sometimes violent protests by the opposition in parliament, a law was passed whereby in a region in which at least ten percent of the population has another mother tongue, this is given the status of a regional official language. This means that Russian is on an equal footing with Ukrainian in 13 of the 27 regions of Ukraine, including the capital Kiev. Hungarian (Transcarpathia), Romanian (Bukovina) and Crimean Tatar (Crimea) were also given a regional upgrade . In addition, Ukraine recognized for the first time the Russian language , which was previously treated as a dialect of Ukrainian at official level.

In 2005 Ukraine ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages . A law passed by the Verkhovna Rada in 2012 and 2013 officially recognizes the following languages ​​as minority languages: Russian , Belarusian , Bulgarian , Armenian , Gagauz , Yiddish , Crimean Tatar , Moldavian (variant of Romanian), German , Modern Greek , Polish , Romani , Romanian , Slovak , Hungarian , Ruthenian (variant of Ukrainian), Karaite , Crimean . In February 2018, this law was found unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court and thus declared void.

In September 2017, the Ukrainian parliament passed a new bill restricting the right for ethnic minorities to teach their mother tongues in Ukrainian schools. Since Romanians and Hungarians are among the most important ethnic minorities in Ukraine, Romania and Hungary condemned this law and Romanian President Klaus Johannis canceled a planned visit to Kiev in protest.


Prevailing religion in the regions (by proportion of registered religious communities)
  • 50% - 66% Catholic (largely Greek Catholic)
  • > 66% Orthodox
  • 50% - 66% Orthodox
  • 33% – 50% Orthodox (majority)
  • Rosenberg Synagogue , Kiev. Jews lived in Kiev as early as the 10th century .

    Ukraine is a religiously mixed country. About 75% of Ukrainians belong to the Orthodox Church . Until 2018 there was a split into a canonically recognized Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate , an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church and an unrecognized post-1991 Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate. A bitter dispute raged between the two churches over legitimacy and ownership of real estate. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was the third Eastern Orthodox Church in the country. Its legitimacy has also been disputed. In October 2018, against the opposition of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch recognized the churches as canonical and placed the territory of Ukraine under his direct jurisdiction with the aim of unifying the three churches. On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv merged Patriarchate with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine . The Church, which reports to the Moscow Patriarch, boycotted the synod at which the merger was decided. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , founded in 1596, also follows the orthodox rite, although it recognizes the supremacy of the Pope and is united with Rome. About 5.5 million believers belong to it, mainly in the west of the country.

    In addition, there are around 2 million Muslims (4%, of whom 1.7% are Tatars ), 1.1 million Roman Catholic Christians (2.4%, mainly Poles and Germans ) and 1.2 million .Evangelical Christians (2.7%), including the Baptists as the largest Protestant group , and about 300,000 Jews.

    Bless you

    Life expectancy for men in Ukraine is 67.1 years, and women live an average of 76.9 years. There is no compulsory or state health insurance in Ukraine, so many cannot afford costly surgery .

    development of life expectancy
    Period Life expectancy Period Life expectancy
    1950-1955 61.8 1985-1990 70.6
    1955-1960 67.1 1990-1995 68.7
    1960-1965 69.7 1995-2000 67.4
    1965-1970 70.7 2000-2005 67.5
    1970-1975 70.7 2005-2010 67.9
    1975-1980 69.7 2010-2015 71.1
    1980-1985 69.2

    According to the WHO, at the end of 2006 0.2% of the total population was infected with the HI virus . At the beginning of 2008, it was estimated that 1.7% of the adult population (aged 15 to 49) was infected. It is unclear to what extent this is a disease that has existed for a long time. Ukraine is thus the worst affected country in Europe . According to an estimate by UN-AIDS in 2016, about 240,000 people were living with HIV in Ukraine, however, according to the NGO All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS , only about 139,000 are officially registered.

    In connection with the H1N1 virus (commonly known as swine flu and new flu), the Ukrainian government ordered the closure of school facilities and a ban on major events for three weeks on October 30, 2009, following a series of deaths in nine oblasts. In total, the Ukrainian authorities confirmed the deaths of 33 people. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confirmed only 11 deaths. In the west of the country, there were hamster purchases in pharmacies. The Ukrainian armed forces deployed doctors, paramedics and reservists to care for the masses of people suffering from influenza. "The situation threatens to get completely out of control," said the head of the parliamentary security committee, Anatoly Hrytsenko .



    The Scythian golden pectoral from the kurgan Tovsta Mohyla, fourth century BC. Chr.

    In the early days, mostly Indo-European peoples (including Cimmerians , Scythians and Sarmatians ) lived in what is now Ukraine. In addition, in the seventh to sixth centuries B.C. several Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, established in the fifth century B.C. formed the Bosporan Empire . In the third and fourth centuries, Goths settled in the south between the Dniester and Dnieper rivers and in the Crimea . In 375 they were subdued by the Huns . The Wild Field , the vast steppe areas in the south of the country, served as a transit area for Bulgarians , Avars , Magyars and other peoples.

    middle age

    The expansion of Kievan Rus' around AD 1000

    The Polesia region in north-western Ukraine is considered a possible original home of the Slavs . Today's Ukraine, like Russia and Belarus, has its origins in the first East Slavic state, Kievan Rus' . From the 8th century Vikings navigated the Eastern European rivers and mixed with the Slavic majority population. These warrior merchants, also known as Varangians or Rus , were instrumental in founding Kievan Rus with centers in Kiev and Novgorod .

    Kievan Rus' reached its heyday in the 10th and 11th centuries after military campaigns imposed trade privileges in Byzantium and destroyed the Khazar Empire . A remarkable cultural upswing began with the Greek Orthodox Christianization of Rus' in 988. However, feudal division processes began in the 12th century. Due to political fragmentation, the Old Russian Empire succumbed to the invasion of the Mongols in 1237–1240 , who made the Rus' tributaries to their empire of the Golden Horde . The north-eastern part of the Rus' ( Vladimir-Suzdal , Ryazan , Tver principalities ) remained under their rule until 1480, while south-western areas and Galicia-Volhynia came under the rule as a result of the Battle of the Irpen (1321) and the Battle of the Blue Water (1362) . of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania , which later formed a joint Republic of Poland-Lithuania with Poland . From the 16th century, areas of today's Ukraine came under Polish rule. In the east, the Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal became the Grand Duchy of Moscow , which gradually consolidated all neighboring Russian principalities around itself and eventually subdued the Tatar Khanate of Kazan . As a result of its expansion, Ukraine became a Russian-Polish rivalry area and borderland. In the Black Sea region, the rule of the Crimean Khanate under Ottoman suzerainty continued for a long time until Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire in the 18th century. In the border regions between the wooded sedentary world and the nomadic steppe landscapes (historically called the Wild Field), the Slavic Cossacks , who had adapted to the way of life as steppe riders, lived in constant guerrilla warfare with the invading Crimean Tatars. In Russia these were the Don Cossacks and in the Ukraine the Zaporogians - or Dnieper Cossacks.

    modern times

    Legal discrimination, economic exploitation and religious pressure on the orthodox population of southwestern Rus' by the Polish crown and Polish magnates repeatedly led to bloody uprisings against Polish rule, which were further fueled by the imposed Church Union of Brest in 1596. In 1648, Ukraine liberated itself from Polish rule in a popular uprising led by the Cossack hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyi , and the Zaporozhian Cossacks established an independent state, the Hetmanate . In 1654, in the Treaty of Pereyaslav , the Cossacks submitted to the Moscow tsar's suzerainty, and subsequently the Left Bank Ukraine (relating to the river Dnepr) with Kiev came under Russian rule. The Cossack Hetmanate existed as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire until the reign of Catherine the Great .

    The Ukraine on the right bank , including Volhynia and Podolia , initially remained with Poland-Lithuania. The Hetmanate on the right bank was dissolved by the Poles as early as the 17th century. In the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, the right-bank part of Ukraine also fell to Russia, the areas of Galicia to the west of Ukraine and Bukovina to the west to the Habsburg Empire . As a result of several Russo-Turkish wars , large parts of what is now southern Ukraine were wrested from the Crimean Tatars , who were under Ottoman vassalage . These areas were developed as Novorossiya under the direction of Grigory Potemkin and settled with Zaporozhian Cossacks and settlers from Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainians were called Little Russians in the Russian Empire, based on an old division of the Orthodox Church provinces into Little Russia (historic heartland around Kiev) and Greater Russia (the areas in the north). Between the partitions of Poland and the Russian Revolution, Ukraine was also part of the Jewish Pale of Settlement .

    In the 19th century, a national movement began to develop in what is now Ukraine. It rejected the idea of ​​the triune Russian people of Greater Russians, Lesser Russians and Belarusians, which was preferred by the tsarist government , and strove for the formation of a "Ukrainian" nation and, as the ultimate goal, a nation state. Important national masterminds were the national poet Taras Shevchenko and the historians Mykola (Nikolai) Kostomarov and Mychajlo Hruschewskyj . In the second half of the 19th century, the Ukrainian national movement was suppressed by the authorities by banning schools and certain political publications in the Ukrainian language (then known as the Little Russian dialect). Therefore, the focus of the national movement shifted to Austrian Galicia, where the Ukrainians (Ruthenians), in contrast to Russia, were recognized as a nationality. In competition with the "Ukrainian" identity was a "Little Russian" identity that was more oriented towards Russia.

    Civil War and early Soviet rule

    Special dispatch of February 9, 1918
    West Ukrainian People's Republic (1918)

    Short-lived Ukrainian national states, the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic, emerged after the Russian February Revolution of 1917 and during the German and Austrian occupation at the end of World War I. On January 22, 1919, the unification of the two people's republics was decided. However, the territory of the West Ukrainian People's Republic was also claimed by Poland and fully occupied as part of the Polish-Ukrainian War until July 1919; however, in the Polish-Soviet War , the Polish troops were pushed back shortly thereafter. As a result, western Ukrainian territories fell to Poland , Romania and Czechoslovakia , central, eastern and southern Ukraine to the Russian Soviet Republic . At the same time, the predominantly peasant Makhno movement in the south-east of the country managed to carry out an anarchist revolution. At first the anarchists helped the Soviet Bolsheviks against Anton Denikin 's conservative monarchist “ Whites ” , but then they were themselves crushed by the Bolsheviks. In the course of the very checkered and bloody Russian Civil War , most areas of Ukraine were conquered by the Red Army and annexed to Soviet Russia under Leon Trotsky . With the founding of the Soviet Union in December 1922, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) was established. The early Bolshevik nationalities policy of the Korenizatsiya aimed to win over the minorities to the socialist idea while at the same time weakening the reactionary unified Russian forces. A state policy of Ukrainization began , which lasted until 1931, which promoted the Ukrainian language and increased the proportion of Ukrainians in the Communist Party and the authorities.

    Universal women's suffrage had existed since March 10, 1919.

    For the young Soviet Union, Ukraine was the “granary”. When agriculture was forcibly collectivized under Josef Stalin from 1929 , a famine known as the Holodomor broke out in the Ukraine, which according to the latest estimates claimed around 3.5 million lives in the Ukraine, more than in the other areas of the Soviet Union together (other estimates range from 2.4 million to as many as 14.5 million victims). Ukrainian historians assume that it was brought about intentionally. Lazar Kaganovich is considered to be primarily responsible for the terror in connection with forced collectivization. However, the assessment of the historical events is controversial.

    Second World War

    As a result of the Hitler-Stalin pact , after the German invasion of Poland and the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland in the summer of 1939, as agreed in the German-Soviet Border and Friendship Treaty , the western Ukrainian areas that had belonged to Poland since 1921 were annexed by the Soviet Union. After the start of the German-Soviet War , those became part of the German Government General in August 1941 . After being occupied by the German Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1943/44, the greater part of the territory of the Ukraine came under civil administration as the Reich Commissariat Ukraine by the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories .

    Parts of the Ukrainian population waged partisan warfare against the German occupiers, others, especially in Galicia, worked with the Germans. In the west of the country, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought against the advancing Soviets and the Polish population. Since the members of this underground army knew that they were doomed to die at the hands of Soviet authorities, their suppression by NKVD units lasted well beyond the end of World War II.

    Ukraine was the scene of numerous mass murders of Jews, Poles and Soviet prisoners of war ( Babi Yar massacre ). More than two million Ukrainians were deported to Germany as workers from the East. The Second World War claimed around four million civilian lives in Ukraine, including around one and a half million Jewish Ukrainians. Almost the entire Jewish population, unless they fled, was wiped out. Villages and towns were destroyed using scorched earth tactics first by the Red Army and then by the German occupiers as they retreated. There were about ten million homeless people in Ukraine in 1945.

    post war period

    In the course of Poland's westward shift , almost the entire Polish population was resettled from the former Polish areas of today's western Ukraine , and some were forcibly expelled. In return, the Ukrainian minority in Poland was forcibly resettled in the Ukraine, and in part also in western Poland.

    After the war, all of Ukraine was united in one state, the Soviet Union , for the first time. On October 24, 1945, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic became a founding member of the United Nations . In 1954, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Pereyaslav Agreement, Crimean Oblast was transferred from Russia (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). The post-war period in Ukraine was characterized by reconstruction and strong industrialization as well as rapid population growth. The population of the Ukrainian SSR increased from around 36.5 million in 1950 to 51.7 million in 1989.


    The Kiev Cave Monastery is one of the national shrines of the three East Slavic nations.

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union , Ukraine gained its state independence in December 1991 after a referendum with 90.3% approval . Women 's suffrage was confirmed. Since independence, Ukraine has been seeking its national identity and international role between a Western orientation, such as integration into the European Union , and an Eastern orientation, i.e. H. a political orientation towards Russia. Since independence, Ukraine has suffered from severe economic and demographic problems. Since independence, the population has fallen by more than 6.25 million people. Since then, it has not been able to achieve the level of economic performance that it enjoyed during the Soviet Union. In 2012, Ukraine's gross domestic product reached only 69.3% of the 1990 level.

    After the breakup of the Soviet Union, there were three other successor states of the USSR with nuclear weapons besides Russia : Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan . Ukraine surrendered most of its tactical nuclear weapons to Russia in 1991, but retained strategic nuclear weapons and demanded money and security guarantees from the West for their delivery. It received US financial aid and security guarantees on the basis of a trilateral agreement between Ukraine, Russia and the USA in January 1994 ( Budapest Memorandum ), joined the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and the Start I Treaty at the end of 1994 and declared itself nuclear-free in 1996.

    In Ukraine's 2004 presidential election , the Orange Revolution , Western-leaning presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko prevailed over Russian-backed Viktor Yanukovych . This was seen by many political observers as pointing the way for Ukraine's orientation. However, the main protagonists of the Orange camp – Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko – could not agree on a common path in the years that followed, and many of the Ukrainians' hopes remained unfulfilled. Tired of political stagnation, Ukrainians elected Russia-oriented Viktor Yanukovych to the presidency in early 2010.

    recent past

    In November 2013, the Euromaidan protests began when the signing of the EU association was suspended under pressure from Russia. The protests were also directed against widespread corruption. In February 2014, an agreement was reached that provided for the return to the constitution that was in force until September 2010 and that included the de facto removal of Viktor Yanukovych.

    As a result, on February 27, 2014, an interim government was formed under Arseniy Yatsenyuk . In the further course, Russia occupied and annexed Crimea in violation of international law and secessionist movements emerged in eastern Ukraine, which escalated into a serious armed conflict that has been going on since 2014. On February 15, 2015, an agreement called Minsk II was signed, which aims to de-escalate and settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    Within the next two years, according to Leszek Balcerowicz , Ukraine coped with the shocks of the former president's legacy and Russian military and economic aggression through an embargo. Pending reforms should include privatizations, as the state still owns many loss-making companies from which money would be diverted. In the spring of 2017, following a decision by the Stockholm arbitral tribunal, the latent threat of a billion-dollar lawsuit from Gazprom , which was a remnant of the decades-old gas dispute and the 2009 gag agreement, seemed to be gone. On November 26, 2018, the Ukrainian parliament declared a state of emergency limited to 30 days . It was reacting to the massive attacks by the Russian coast guard on Ukrainian ships and the threat of a large-scale invasion by the Russian Federation due to massive Russian troop concentrations along the Ukrainian border . Massive Russian troop concentrations along the Ukrainian border and the threat of invasion by the Russian Federation were again seen by Ukraine and western states in late 2021.


    Political Indices
    Index name index value World Rank interpretation aid year
    Fragile States Index 69 out of 120 92 of 178 Country stability: warning
    0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
    democracy index 5.81 out of 10 79 of 167 Hybrid regime
    0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = full democracy
    Freedom in the World Index 60 out of 100 Freedom status: partially free
    0 = not free / 100 = free
    Press Freedom Index 32.52 out of 100 96 out of 180 Recognizable problems for press freedom
    0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
    Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 33 out of 100 117 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

    Political system

    Political system of Ukraine

    According to the Ukrainian Constitution , Ukraine is a democratic , republican , social and constitutional unitary state with a semi - presidential system of government . The constitution provides for a separation of powers . The head of state is the President , the government ( Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine ) is headed by a Prime Minister . Only the Autonomous Republic of Crimea had (and still has this de jure ) the right to have its own constitution, government and semi-autonomous legislation.


    The "first constitution of Europe", also Pylyp Orlyk's constitution of 1710, which already provided for the separation of powers between the legislative , executive and judiciary , even before Montesquieu 's On the Spirit of Laws (1748). Ukrainians refer to them in their justifications and forms of their own democratic statehood.

    The Constitution of Ukraine dates from June 28, 1996 and claims supreme legal authority as the basic state law. All actions of the state and its institutions, including legislation and international treaties , must be in accordance with it.

    The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is solely and exclusively responsible for interpreting the constitution and reviewing the constitutionality of state actions .

    Changes to this are the responsibility of the parliament and are to be decided in a special constitutional amendment procedure within the framework of a regular legislative session with a two-thirds majority of the legal members of the Verkhovna Rada. They are to be drafted as a constitution-amending law by the President of Ukraine. Changes to state principles, elections and referendums, as well as provisions on constitutional amendments also require approval in a referendum .

    This happened for the first time with Law No. 2222-IV of December 8, 2004, and cut i. the rights of the President at that time. These amendments were rejected as unconstitutional and declared void by a decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on October 1, 2010. In the course of the national crisis of 2013/14 , the parliament decided on February 21, 2014, true to the " Agreement on the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine ", to reintroduce the amendments of 2004. However, this parliamentary resolution for the constitutional effectiveness was missing the signature of the then still incumbent President Wiktor Yanukovych . It is unclear whether and, if so, when, this can and will be made up for by the new President. Until then, the constitution will continue to apply in its original version from 1996.

    constitutional bodies


    Ceremonial Presidential Palace in Kiev

    The President of Ukraine (Ukrainian Президент України President Ukrajiny ) is the head of state and represents the state of Ukraine internally and externally under international law . He is tasked with safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and heads the executive branch.

    The duties of the President include:

    • the appointment of the Prime Minister with the approval of the Parliament , as well as the ministers, the diplomatic representatives of the country, two-thirds of the members of the Constitutional Court and the Central Bank , as well as the Attorney General,
    • drafting of parliamentary laws with the possibility of vetoing parliamentary decisions,
    • right to overturn government measures and determine the shape of ministries,
    • exercising the right of clemency for all of Ukraine,
    • establishment or dissolution of courts and branches of the courts,
    • Chair of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine
    • supreme command of the armed forces of Ukraine , imposition of martial law and proclamation of general mobilization in the event of tension or war,
    • premature dissolution of Parliament,
    • Regulations and decrees to the bodies of the executive branch, including the Cabinet of Ministers .

    A delegation of these powers is expressly excluded. The President is advised by the “National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine”.

    The President is elected directly by the people of Ukraine for a five-year term. A candidate may not hold office for more than two consecutive terms. Anyone who is at least 35 years old, has Ukrainian citizenship, is eligible to vote and has lived in Ukraine for at least 10 years is eligible for election.

    A premature departure from office is possible through one's own resignation, determination of incapacity for health reasons, formal impeachment proceedings or the death of the incumbent.

    houses of Parliament

    The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian : Верховна Рада Supreme Council ) is the unicameralist parliament of Ukraine. It exercises the sole legislative power of the state. It is directly elected by the people of Ukraine for a five-year term, with the date and procedure of the elections being determined by the outgoing parliament. Members of the Rada enjoy legal immunity for the duration of the legislative period and may not hold any (other) office within Ukraine during their time as members of parliament, in particular not belong to the executive branch. Except for the end of the legislative period, the Rada can only be dissolved by the President of Ukraine in exceptional cases, in which case new elections must be called immediately. The Verkhovna Rada is headed and represented by a President of the Verkhovna Rada elected from among its members.

    Parliament's powers include:

    • the legislation,
    • the decision on constitutional amendments,
    • decision of the state budget,
    • decision to hold a referendum,
    • approving the appointment of the Prime Minister and other officials appointed by the President, and motions of no confidence in them,
    • Resolution on the framework conditions for domestic and foreign policy by the Cabinet of Ministers and the President,
    • formation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,
    • Decree on the case of war and declarations of war,
    • parliamentary control of the President and the Cabinet of Ministers,
    • dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea if determined by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine for unconstitutional conduct,
    • the impeachment of the President.


    The government of Ukraine is administered by the Cabinet of Ministers (Ukrainian : Кабінет Міністрів України Kabinet Ministriv Ukrajiny , "Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine"). This consists of the Prime Minister (Ukrainian : Прем'єр-міністр України Prem'er Ministr Ukrajiny , "Prime Minister of Ukraine"), the First Vice Prime Minister, three other Vice Prime Ministers and the ministers. The former is appointed by the President of Ukraine with the consent of the Verkhovna Rada. The other members of the Cabinet are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The term of office of the cabinet is tied to the term of office of the prime minister. The Verkhovna Rada can issue a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, with the result that he and the entire cabinet are to be dismissed from office by the president. Due to its double-sided appointment and dismissal, the Cabinet of Ministers is just as dependent on majorities in the Verkhovna Rada for its work as it is on the support of the President.

    Most recently, the government under Prime Minister Mykola Azarov from the Party of Regions was dependent on the support of the Communist Party and independent MPs. Azarov was dismissed before the Verkhovna Rada by Yanukovych on his resignation request on January 28, 2014. The former First Vice Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov , also from the Party of Regions, was temporarily appointed with the government business until the appointment of a new government . On February 22, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada decided to dismiss him as acting Prime Minister and to hand over the leadership of the Cabinet of Ministers to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Oleksandr Turchynov of the Fatherland Party, until a new Prime Minister was elected . The Yatsenyuk government was in office from February 27, 2014 to December 2, 2014, and its proposed resignation was rejected by parliament. From December 2, 2014 to April 14, 2016, a coalition government ruled under the confirmed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk , which was formed after the parliamentary elections at the end of October . It was replaced on April 14, 2016, after Yatsenyuk's resignation, by the Hroysman cabinet , a coalition government formed by Volodymyr Hroysman . After the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2019 , the Verkhovna Rada met for the first time on August 29, 2019 and elected Oleksiy Honcharuk as the new prime minister. After the parliament accepted Oleksiy Honcharuk's resignation on March 4, 2020, it elected Denys Shmyhal as the new prime minister on the same day.

    elections and political parties

    The Central Election Commission of Ukraine , an agency based in Kiev , is responsible for organizing and conducting presidential and parliamentary elections, local elections and referendums . The 15 members of the Commission are elected by the Verkhovna Rada for a period of 7 years and appointed by the President. Since 2011, a so-called trench voting system has applied to parliamentary elections .

    The landscape of political parties in Ukraine is changing, new parties are emerging, older ones are merging or changing their names. Thus, Ukrainian politics is sometimes more strongly characterized by the continuity of individual top politicians in changing constellations than by individual groups; the elections of 2012 , 2014 and 2019 each showed very different results. An important criterion for the political classification of the parties is their position towards the EU or towards Russia .

    administrative division

    Republik Moldau Ungarn Serbien Rumänien Russland Polen Slowakei Belarus Oblast Wolyn Oblast Riwne Oblast Schytomyr Kiew Oblast Kiew Oblast Tschernihiw Oblast Sumy Oblast Lwiw Oblast Ternopil Oblast Chmelnyzkyj Oblast Transkarpatien Oblast Iwano-Frankiwsk Oblast Tscherniwzi Oblast Winnyzia Oblast Odessa Oblast Tscherkassy Oblast Poltawa Oblast Charkiw Oblast Luhansk Oblast Donezk Oblast Kirowohrad Oblast Mykolajiw Oblast Cherson Oblast Dnipropetrowsk Oblast Saporischschja Autonome Republik Krim Sewastopol
    Overview of the administrative divisions of Ukraine

    Ukraine is divided into 24 oblasts (ukr. область , districts, lit. areas ), the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and two cities with special status, Kiev and Sevastopol .

    1. Cherkasy Oblast
    2. Chernihiv Oblast
    3. Chernivtsi Oblast
    4. Dnepropetrovsk Oblast
    5. Donetsk Oblast
    6. Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
    7. Kharkiv Oblast
    8. Kherson Oblast
    9. Khmelnytskyi Oblast
    1. Kirovohrad Oblast
    2. Kiev Oblast
    3. City of Kiev
    4. Autonomous Republic of Crimea
    5. Luhansk region
    6. Lviv Oblast
    7. Mykolayiv Oblast
    8. Odessa Oblast
    9. Poltava Oblast
    1. Rivne Region
    2. Sumy Oblast
    3. Ternopil Oblast
    4. Vinnytsia Oblast
    5. Volyn Region
    6. Zakarpattia Oblast
    7. Zaporizhia Oblast
    8. City of Sevastopol
    9. Zhytomyr Oblast

    The Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukrainian : Автономна Республіка Крим ), officially Crimea Oblast in USSR times, is geographically the Crimean Peninsula excluding the administratively autonomous city of Sevastopol and has Simferopol as its capital .

    Since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the government in Kiev has no longer been able to exercise territorial sovereignty over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

    Ukraine is a unitary state , with oblasts and municipalities having very little power for a long time. On June 28, 2014, Ukrainian President Poroshenko announced that there would be constitutional reform and that power would be decentralized. The municipalities should have significantly more powers and part of the taxes should remain with the oblasts.

    metropolitan areas

    The largest cities in Ukraine are (as of 2017):

    rank Surname Name
    Ukrainian (Cyrillic)
    settlement area
    1. Kiev (Kyiv) Київ 2,925,760
    2. Kharkiv Харків 1,439,036
    3. Odesa Odesa 1,010,783
    4. Dnipro Дніпро 976,525
    5. Donetsk Донецьк 927.201
    6. Zaporizhia Запоріжжя 750,685
    7. Lviv _ Львів 727,968
    8th. Kryvyi Rih Кривий Ріг 636,294
    9. Mykolayiv Миколаїв 490,762
    10 Mariupol Маріуполь 449,498
    11. Sevastopol Sevastopol 382,878
    12. Luhansk Луганськ 413,370
    13. Vinnytsia Вінниця 372,672
    14 Simferopol Сімферополь 341,155
    15 Makiivka Макіївка 347,376

    foreign policy

    States with embassy or consulate of Ukraine

    Ukrainian foreign policy in the first years of state independence was described by Ukrainian politicians as “multivectoral” and was often perceived as inconsistent by political observers abroad. On the one hand, Ukraine was striving to get closer to NATO and the EU ; on the other hand, good relations with its large neighbor Russia were of fundamental importance for the country. It was only when President Viktor Yushchenko took office in January 2005 that he declared that the country's orientation towards the West and the associated membership of the EU were his political goals. When it became increasingly clear in the years that followed that Ukraine had no realistic prospect of joining the EU at the time, Yushchenko tried in 2008 to join NATO as soon as possible. Despite support from the USA, no formal decision was made at the Bucharest NATO Council meeting in April 2008 on immediate accession status for Ukraine, which ultimately amounted to a rejection of the wish for accession.

    In the 2010 presidential elections, the four leading candidates Viktor Yanukovych, Yulia Tymoshenko, Serhiy Tihipko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk spoke out in favor of introducing “European standards” in Ukraine. They all stood for gradual rapprochement with the EU and at the same time strategic and good-neighborly relations with Russia.

    After taking office in February 2010, the newly elected President Yanukovych declared that Ukraine wanted to be a non-aligned country and saw itself as "a bridge between Russia and the EU". He clearly rejected NATO membership. Yanukovych withheld a planned association agreement with the EU and tried to tie himself closer to Russia . On June 8, 2017, the Ukrainian parliament once again made NATO membership a foreign policy goal. The Ukrainian-Russian Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership was signed on June 1, 1997, but was not ratified by parliaments until April 1999. According to Ukrainian announcements in September 2018, it should not be renewed by Ukraine when it expires on April 1, 2019.

    In February 2019, the goal of joining NATO and the EU was enshrined in the constitution.

    Geopolitical importance of Ukraine

    Great geopolitical importance is attached to Ukraine due to its location at the interface between Europe and Asia. In Zbigniew Brzeziński 's work The Only World Power (1997), it is considered the geopolitical "linchpin",

    “because their mere existence as an independent state contributes to the transformation of Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia is no longer a Eurasian empire. However, if Moscow regained control of Ukraine […], Russia would automatically acquire the means to become a powerful empire spanning Europe and Asia. If Ukraine were to lose its independence, central Europe would have immediate consequences and Poland would become a geopolitical hub on the eastern border of a united Europe.”

    Other geopolitical issues discussed include a possible rapprochement or integration into the EU and NATO. In 1997, Zbigniew Brzeziński assessed Germany's role as decisive for eastward enlargement.


    Ukraine is a member of the following international organizations:
    organization accession
    United Nations
    Flag of the United Nations.svg UNO
    (founding member) 1
    October 24, 1945
    Flag of UNESCO.svg UNESCO
    May 12, 1954
    Council of Europe
    Flag of the Council of Europe.svg Council of Europe
    Flag of WHO.svg WHO , World Health Organization
    Flag of None.svg Interpol
    red cross committee
    Flag of the ICRC.svg ICRC , International Committee of the Red Cross
    Olympic flag.svg IOC , International Olympic Committee
    Sep 1993
    Logo WTO-OMC.svg WTO , World Trade Organization
    May 16, 2008
    Logo IMF.svg IMF , International Monetary Fund
    Telecommunication Union
    International Telecommunication Union logo.svg ITU , International Telecommunication Union
    Flag of IAEA.svg IAEA , International Atomic Energy Agency
    GUAM logo.png GUAM , Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
    October 10, 1997
    Logo OSCE.svg OSCE , Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    January 30, 1992
    1Although not a sovereign state as part of the Soviet Union , the then-Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic gained full status among the 51 founding members of the United Nations in 1945, as did the then-also non-independent Philippines , India , and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic .

    cooperation with the EU

    Ukraine ranked 4th in Europe in 2007 for the number of people with high educational attainment ( tertiary level of education ), behind Russia, Great Britain and France.
    Age Structure of Ukraine of the International Futures Program (2012)
    Kiev University is one of the most important educational institutions in Ukraine.

    In December 2004, the European Union approved an "Action Plan" for closer cooperation with Ukraine as part of its so-called "Neighborhood Policy". The following points are mentioned as priorities in the action plan:

    • promoting Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO); steady dismantling of barriers in bilateral trade.
    • Ukrainian laws, norms and standards are gradually being aligned with those of the EU.
    • Negotiations on employment issues, such as opportunities for Ukrainian citizens to work in the EU.
    • Negotiations on facilitating the issuing of travel visas.
    • Fulfillment of the agreement between the EU and Ukraine on the closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
    • Improving the investment climate, among other things by creating non- discriminatory , transparent economic conditions, reducing bureaucracy and combating corruption , human trafficking , torture and racism .

    Benita Ferrero-Waldner , EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, also named the following measures to strengthen economic relations with Ukraine:

    • The import of textiles and steel from Ukraine should be made easier.
    • The granting of loans from the European Investment Bank to Ukraine is to be made easier.
    • Financial aid for aligning the Ukrainian legal system with the legal system of the EU is to be increased.
    • Closer cooperation is envisaged in the fields of energy, environment and transport.

    The basics of Ukraine's relations with the EU are:

    • the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (in force since March 1, 1998),
    • the "Common Strategy EU-Ukraine" adopted by the European Council on December 14, 1999 in Helsinki,
    • the concept for a “European neighborhood policy” presented by the EU Commission in March 2003 and approved by the EU member states (“Wider Europe – Neighborhood: a new framework for the EU's relations with its eastern and southern neighbours”).

    Since 1994, the EU has also been providing advice and equipment assistance in Ukraine as part of the TACIS program. Germany accounts for almost 30% of the funding for this program.

    The aim of the EU's "European Neighborhood Policy" is merely to intensify cooperation with the EU's neighboring countries, which is specified in "Action Plans". In addition to the action plan for the Ukraine in December 2004, an action plan for the neighboring country of Moldova has also been adopted for neighboring countries in Eastern Europe .

    In the area of ​​economic cooperation, the neighboring countries are to be given long-term participation in the EU internal market and in some community programs. According to EU Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner in an interview with Deutsche Welle on January 21, 2005, the neighborhood policy does not open up the prospect of accession.

    In contrast, the former Ukrainian President Yushchenko repeatedly emphasized, for example on January 25, 2005 before the Council of Europe in Strasbourg , that he was striving for Ukraine's accession to the EU as a "strategic goal".

    Since the beginning of 2008, Ukraine has been negotiating an association agreement with the EU. These negotiations were unsuccessful until the end of Yanukovych's term in office.

    On June 28, 2014, the EU signed the economic part of an association agreement with Ukraine, which also includes a free trade agreement. The political part of the agreement was signed in March 2014.

    In autumn 2018, the Ukrainian parliament voted to enshrine the goal of EU accession in the constitution. The constitutional court should then examine the change, at a time when, according to surveys, 58 percent of those polled agreed with this goal. On February 7, this goal was codified together with that of joining NATO .

    security policy

    judiciary and police

    Ukrainian police officers in Kiev

    Jurisdiction is entrusted to the courts of Ukraine. Although they are formally independent from the constitution , in practice the separation between judiciary and politics and economic interests is only weakly defined. The judiciary in Ukraine is considered to be very prone to corruption. In principle, there is a uniform principle with regard to the division of judicial power: the courts are in principle responsible for all judicial proceedings, regardless of the matter to be dealt with. The judiciary has four instances: local courts, regional courts, courts of appeal and the Supreme Court of Ukraine as a court of appeal. Apart from the local courts, there are separate chambers for administrative and commercial matters.

    Constitutional jurisdiction is exercised by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (Ukrainian : Конституційний Суд України Konstitycijnyj Sud Ukraijny ). This has the sole power to reject laws, decide on the interpretation of the constitution and is involved in the removal of the president from office and the dissolution of Crimea's local parliament.

    A (political) Attorney General (Ukrainian : Генеральний прокурор України Heneralyj Prokuror Ukraijny ) based on the Soviet model is responsible for criminal prosecution and heads the local prosecutors. Its powers are directly determined by the constitution.

    Both the Ukrainian police (formerly called "militia") and the judiciary are considered corrupt. In June 2014, the EU decided to send a 40-person law enforcement mission to Kiev to support the Ukrainian police.

    Emblem of the Central Electoral Commission


    Main Battle Tank T-64 BV of the Ukrainian Armed Forces

    In 2005, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Ukrainian : Збройні сили України Sukhoputni Viys'ka ZSU ) had one of the smallest military budgets in Europe at around 618 million US dollars, particularly in relation to the troop strength of 191,000 active soldiers and one million reservists . In the meantime, the defense budget has increased to USD 4.88 billion. Most of the equipment is still of Soviet origin.

    The armed forces are divided into the army with a strength of approx. 88,500, the air force with a strength of approx. 51,500 men and the navy , which has approx. 17,500 soldiers, of which 3,000 are marines .

    There are also 39,900 Interior Ministry troops , 45,000 Ukrainian border guards (including 14,000 Coast Guards ) and over 9,500 civil defense and disaster relief forces .

    Military service is a legal obligation for men starting at the age of 18 and lasts a total of nine months. The abolition of conscription and the transition to a professional army should take place in 2014. Due to the "deterioration of the security situation in the east and south of the country" from May 2014 men between the ages of 18 and 25 have to do their military service again. In July 2018, the President declared that Ukraine spends 6 percent of GDP on defense due to the war in eastern Ukraine .

    state budget

    In 2016, the state budget included expenditure equivalent to US $31.6 billion , which was offset by income equivalent to US$29.8 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 6.5% of GDP .

    The national debt in 2009 was US$35.1 billion or 30.0% of GDP.

    In 2006, government spending (as a percentage of GDP) accounted for the following areas:

    By 2014, Ukraine's foreign debt had risen to around 80 percent of gross domestic product. In January 2015 there was still no consistent budget for the current year. Should come in a plan published in January 2015. If Russia defaults on a previously granted 3 billion euro loan to Ukraine for violating the terms of the agreement, which stipulated a debt ceiling of 60 percent of GDP, the Paris Club should assume the payment obligation in order to avoid a general default and a loss of capital prevent private creditors. The immediate payments needed to avoid a financial collapse in Ukraine, estimated by the IMF at $15 billion, are far from sufficient. Against the background of the impending payment defaults, George Soros , whose fund is heavily invested in Ukraine, negotiated in Kiev on January 13, 2015 with politicians and parliamentarians, e.g. about the establishment of a state fund to protect private investors.

    human rights

    Amnesty International has condemned police violence in Ukraine. The human rights organization documented torture by strangulation and electrocution, and the rape of a woman by police officers. In addition, prison cells are overcrowded, medical care is scarce and hygienic conditions are poor. Scores of people are being arbitrarily arrested, particularly asylum seekers, who are often discriminated against by the police. Human Rights Watch has criticized the sentencing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and called for an investigation into alleged abuse in prison.

    In the Ukraine conflict from 2014, Amnesty International accused both the armed separatists in eastern Ukraine and government soldiers of "serious human rights violations". Activists, demonstrators and hostages who fell into the hands of one of the conflicting parties were mistreated. According to Amnesty International, the separatists in particular took numerous hostages, who were "often brutally beaten and tortured". Hundreds of kidnappings in eastern Ukraine can be assumed. Victims are often civilians. Extortion for ransom is also a motive of the Separatist groups. The United Nations has criticized the human rights situation both under the Ukrainian government and in the separatist areas.

    On May 21, 2015, the Ukrainian parliament decided to partially suspend some human rights until the end of the Ukrainian war. These are the right to liberty and security, to a fair trial and to protection of family life.

    Due to the pending reforms to improve the rule of law, the IMF stopped providing aid loans in 2017. Thanks to the opening of the market, the former notorious corruption in gas trading has been dried up. Abuse of banks by oligarchs had been limited by the central bank, which had closed half of all banks, making the not yet privatized state-owned enterprises the biggest focus of corruption, according to Ivan Mikloš . A new tax-refund system reduced officials' opportunities for corruption. Customs fraud also loses billions of dollars in revenue each year.


    Growth dynamics of GDP after PPP .
    GDP per capita (PPP based) in US dollars
    GDP growth rates since 1990 – with the big swings in 1994 and 2009

    The most important foreign trade partners in 2007 were Russia (21.1%), Germany (8.0%), Turkey (6.9%), Italy (6.3%), followed by the United States (4%), Turkmenistan ( 3.8%), Poland (3.4%) and the People's Republic of China (3.3%).

    Cyprus and Germany were the largest direct investors for 2008, out of a total of 36.5 billion US dollars, Cyprus accounted for 8.3 billion and Germany for 6.8 billion (as of July 1, 2008). The main exports of Ukraine are metallurgical products, chemical goods, machinery, equipment, food and textiles.

    In terms of wages and salaries in Ukraine, there is a gap between the richer industrial east and the poorer agricultural west (as of 2008).

    In 2011, Ukraine signed a free trade agreement with Russia , which Russia canceled on January 1, 2016. According to Russian information, the reason was the entry into force of the free trade agreement with the EU.

    In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Ukraine ranks 83rd out of 140 countries (as of 2018). The country ranked 150th out of 180 countries in the 2018 Economic Freedom Index .

    The unemployment rate was 9.2% in 2017. In 2014, 5.8% of all workers worked in agriculture, 26.5% in industry and 67.8% in the service sector. The total number of employees in 2017 is estimated at 18 million.

    standard of living

    1 million coupon karbovanets corresponded to 9.72 DM in 1995

    In Ukraine there are great social differences and a large part of the 45.4 million Ukrainians live in modest material circumstances or in poverty. With an hourly wage of 2.20 euros, the capital of the Ukraine Kiev has the lowest hourly wage and, at 17.6%, by far the lowest purchasing power of all European capitals (as of 2012). Within the country, the salary tends to be higher the further east the region is located – with Donetsk Oblast at the top and Ternopil Oblast in the west bringing up the rear.

    Many rural residents practice subsistence farming , as wages and pensions were paid late and incompletely, and wage levels could not keep up with the increased cost of living. In 1992, a transitional currency ( kupon - karbovanets / купоно-карбованець ) was introduced, which was suffering from hyperinflation due to the economic crisis of the time . The average annual price in 1992 was 135 coupons for 1  mark , in 1995 there were 102,886 coupons for 1 mark. In 1996 the karbovanets was replaced by the hryvnia .

    Economic development

    After Ukraine's secession from the USSR in 1991, a gradual privatization process was initiated. In the 1990s, like the other transition countries in Eastern Europe , the country initially experienced an economic crisis that was a consequence of the overall economic transformation . In addition, the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster continue to weigh heavily on the country. This is attributed in particular to the shock therapy prescribed by the International Monetary Fund , which resulted in a 60% decline in gross domestic product from 1992 to 1995. However, the economy stabilized at the end of the 1990s. From the year 2000, the country was characterized by a strong economic upswing. Since then, the annual growth of Ukraine's GDP has averaged about 7%. In 2007 it was 7.3%.

    The change of power that took place at the end of 2004, which not only affected the president but also ensured a new majority in parliament, gave reason to expect far-reaching reforms. Foreign investors are increasingly buying or leasing agricultural land. Land sales should remain prohibited for the time being, with a few exceptions. According to a report by the American Oakland Institute, 1.6 million hectares of land have already been transferred to multinational companies since 2002. Of this, more than 405,000 hectares went to a Luxembourg-based company, another 444,800 hectares to an investor registered in Cyprus, 120,000 hectares to a French company and 250,000 hectares to a Russian company. Commodity multinational Cargill, which also supplies agrochemicals, has invested in grain silos, port terminals, sunflower oil and animal feed plants, and has also acquired shares in UkrLandFarming, the country's largest agricultural company.

    Ukraine was particularly hard hit by the global financial crisis that began in 2007 . In the first half of 2009, GDP collapsed by 18% compared to the same period last year. The banking sector was destabilized, the national currency hryvnia fell sharply in value and production collapsed. The high dependency on energy imports and the energy-intensive economy with increased gas import prices also exacerbated the crisis. Ukraine received a $16.4 billion conditional loan from the IMF to be disbursed in three tranches to avert state bankruptcy. Since the government of Ukraine did not want to meet the conditions, the IMF decided not to pay out the third tranche. As reported by the Ministry of Economics, in 2009 the gross domestic product fell by around 15%. After modest growth, the Euromaidan revolution, the subsequent Russian invasion of Crimea and the east of the country, and the civil war in that region were followed by a renewed economic crisis. However, the Ukrainian economy has been able to stabilize since 2015: production, wages and investments have increased in recent years. In August 2016, the Ukrainian economy reached the status of 2013.

    The raw material base of Ukraine includes various metals and coal. About 5% of the world's iron ore deposits are in Ukraine. There are also bauxite , lead , chromium , soapstone , gold , mercury , nickel , titanium , uranium and zinc . Oil and gas reserves have been discovered on the Black Sea shelf . The share of heavy industry in the overall economy more than doubled that of Poland, which was also characterized by heavy industry. 70% of industrial production in 1991 was in the mechanical engineering, black metallurgy (iron and steel), energy, chemical, paper and building materials sectors.


    Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real World Bank

    year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    % change yoy 7.3 7.9 2.3 −14.8 4.2 5.5 0.2 0.0 −6.6 −9.8 2.3 2.5

    Development of GDP (nominal), World Bank

    absolute (in billion USD) per inhabitant (in thousand USD)
    year 2014 2015 2016 year 2014 2015 2016
    GDP in billions of euros 133.5 91.0 93.3 GDP per capita (in € thousand) 3.1 2.1 2.2

    Foreign Trade Development (GTAI)

    in billions of US dollars and its percentage change from the previous year
    2014 2015 2016
    billion $ % yoy billion $ % yoy billion $ % yoy
    import 54.4 −28.2 37.5 −31.1 39.2 +4.6
    export 53.9 −13.5 38.1 −29.3 36.4 −4.6
    balance −1.1 0.6 −2.9

    Main trading partners of Ukraine (2016), Source: GTAI

    Export (in percent) to Import (percentage) from
    Russia Russia 9.9 Russia Russia 13.1
    Egypt Egypt 6.2 China People's Republic People's Republic of China 11.9
    Poland Poland 6.1 Germany Germany 11.0
    Turkey Turkey 5.6 Belarus Belarus 7.1
    Italy Italy 5.3 Poland Poland 6.9
    India India 5.2 United States United States 4.3
    China People's Republic People's Republic of China 5.0 France France 3.9
    United Nations other states 52.8 United Nations other states 41.8

    Economic development of Ukraine

    Real % year-on-year change (excluding the territories annexed by Russia and the secessionist areas)

    gross domestic product
    gross fixed capital formation
    Import (goods and services)
    private consumption
    2019/20 forecast (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit June 2019)

    Primary Sector


    Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

    For a time, Ukraine was one of the countries with the highest energy consumption in Europe. Primary energy consumption increased from 138 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 1970 to 270 in 1990, higher than France and Britain . 27.4% of the energy is generated from coal, about 20% from natural gas, 47.5% from nuclear reactors of Soviet or Russian design (see List of nuclear reactors in Ukraine for more information ) and 5% from hydroelectric power. In 2011, 15 nuclear reactors with a total gross output of around 14 gigawatts (GW) were in operation, four were shut down and two with 1000 MW (= 1 GW) each were under construction. Electricity generation from nuclear power plants in 2010 was 83.8 billion kWh.

    The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is located on the Dnieper (50 kilometers from the city of Zaporizhia) ; it has six nuclear reactors, each with a net output of 950 MW, making it the most powerful nuclear power plant in Europe. There is the DniproHES dam, one of the largest dams in Europe. This also serves as a storage power plant and has an electrical output of 1,570 megawatts.


    Annually, Ukraine produces around 60 million tons of grain, mainly corn, wheat and barley, of which more than 50% is exported. In 2012, it was the seventh largest grain producer worldwide. In 2019, a new record harvest of around 75 million tons was brought in for grain.

    Agriculture has been suffering from severe soil erosion for several decades. Due to the resulting desertification of the country, Ukraine has already lost around an eighth of its agricultural area. Today, the proportion of forest is 5% of the total area. In the north of the country there was once an extensive forest steppe with very fertile loess soil . Except for a small remnant, these forests have been cut down and converted into farmland. The birch forests around Kiev and the forests in Volhynia are well known. Since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, no farming has been allowed within a radius of 30 kilometers around the city of Pripyat on the northern border with Belarus because of the ongoing radioactive contamination.

    In the south of Ukraine on the coast and in the Crimea wine and fruit growing is practiced . Wheat , potatoes and sugar beets are mainly grown in the rest of the country. At the time of independence from the Soviet Union, 55% of Ukraine's territory was used for arable farming and a total of 70% for agriculture. The agro-industrial complex generated about 40% of national income in 1991. In 2007, a total of 42.894 million hectares of land were used for agriculture in Ukraine.

    Almost a fifth of the population lives from agriculture (mainly in the western part of the country), which generates 12% of the gross domestic product. With 32 million hectares, the Ukraine has twice as much arable land as Germany, but with 35 million tons it only achieves 70% of German grain production. 40% of the agricultural land is managed by small but stable subsistence farms under one hectare, 50% by tenant farms (with an average of 1,200 hectares), the remaining 10% by small farms with an average of five hectares and by 43,000 middle farmers (80 to 500 hectares ).

    land grabbing

    With 56% of its land area, Ukraine has the world's highest percentage of best quality arable soil, which is covered with a thick layer of very fertile black soil ( Chernozem ). As long as land prices are very low by international comparison, the country is very vulnerable to land grabbing . In 2012, the rent per hectare was 350 hryvnia (approx. 30 euros). In November 2008, The Guardian reported on Libya's acquisition of 250,000 hectares of farmland in Ukraine. A Russian company leased around 300,000 hectares of land. At the end of 2012, the US investment fund New Century Holdings (NCH Capital) held around 450,000 hectares of land in Ukraine. In 2012, China Exim Bank granted a loan of USD 3 billion and received up to 6 million tons of grain annually for the following 15 years. In 2013, the Chinese state-owned company Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps began negotiations with the Ukrainian agricultural group KSG Agro for 100,000 hectares in the Black Sea region. Crops are to be grown and pigs bred for the Chinese market. The People's Republic of China wants to take over up to three million hectares for further lease rights for 50 years. In 2020, parliament decided to open the land market in a controversial land reform . Accordingly, the agricultural land is to be exposed to the market from July 1, 2021. The International Monetary Fund made the reform a prerequisite for new loans to Ukraine.


    Fanuc R-2000iB industrial robot for welding bodywork of ZAZ Chance , Saporisky Awtomobilebudiwny Zavod

    Iron ore deposits with appropriate processing are located near Kryvyi Rih ( Kryvbass ), Dnipro and Zaporizhia . There are also mechanical engineering, rail vehicle and automotive industries , aerospace industry , armaments industry , food industry , the construction of electrical appliances and an extensive shipyard industry . Coal , steel , electrical appliances, machines, vehicles and food are mainly exported , while energy sources ( gas and oil ) are mainly imported from Russia. In the Donetsk Basin there are many mines in need of rehabilitation, in which serious mining accidents have already occurred.

    The largest vehicle plants are KrAZ in Kremenchuk , LuAZ in Lutsk and Saporisky Awtomobilebudivny Zavod (SAS) in Zaporizhia .


    The tertiary sector has developed very dynamically in Ukraine in recent years, but has remained heavily dependent on fluctuations in the financial markets. In addition to the banks, the software and IT service sectors also showed large growth rates. Their turnover in 2014 was about 5 billion US dollars. Managers or former managers of the IT industry have been strongly represented in parliament and in leading positions in the governing coalition since 2014.

    financial economy

    Dnipro is considered the financial center of the country.
    10 hryvnia with a portrait of Ivan Masepa

    In banking, the first takeover by a foreign credit institution took place only in October 2005, but banks with foreign capital were established even before that. At that time, the Austrian Raiffeisen International took over the second largest bank in the country, "Bank Aval" (now Raiffeisen Aval ). The Ukrainian side deliberately dragged out the sales negotiations, as other interested parties quickly found themselves, and the purchase price increased step by step to ultimately EUR 836 million (for a 93.5% stake). Together with "Raiffeisenbank Ukraine", founded in 1998, "Raiffeisen International" held a balance sheet capital share of 12% in the Ukrainian banking sector until the former was sold to OTP Bank in 2006.

    From then on there was suddenly great interest from numerous foreign banks that also wanted to gain a foothold in Ukraine. In just five months, the share of foreign banks in Ukraine's banking sector has soared from just over 12% to around 25%, and stood at 31.7% in August 2007. From 2010, the trend went in the opposite direction again.

    Another of Ukraine's Big Five banks, Ukrsibbank , was acquired by France's largest bank, BNP Paribas , in December 2005. 51% changed hands for almost 300 million euros. In September 2007, Commerzbank acquired a 60% stake in Bank Forum for EUR 600 million.

    Several of the smaller of the 158 (at the end of 2005) Ukrainian banks have already been taken over. For example, the Russian market leader, the state-owned Sberbank , took over the Ukrainian NRB-Ukraina (has not yet received permission from the banking supervisory authority for this), and the Russian number two, the also state-owned Vneschtorgbank (VTB), took over the Ukrainian Mrija for the equivalent of almost 60 million Euro. Political motives are suspected behind the takeovers of the state-owned Russian banks, as the Russian side already saw in January 2006 in the sudden multiplication of the gas price .

    Central bank functions are performed by the National Bank of Ukraine , which was founded in 1991. Due to the global financial crisis from 2007, the hryvnia lost over 40% of its value from autumn 2008 to February 2009. Rating agency Fitch downgraded Ukraine to B ( highly speculative ).

    government bonds

    On December 17, 2013, the government agreed with Russia to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and "temporarily" cut gas prices by a third to prop up Ukraine's economy. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that without a treaty with Russia there would be a risk of national bankruptcy and the collapse of society. According to the BBC, Ukraine would need $17 billion in external financing in 2014 to continue servicing its debt.

    After the Yatsenyuk government was in office, Ukraine received at least 11 billion euros in subsidies and loans at low interest rates from the European Union to establish and ensure a stable economy and politics.

    The US investment house Franklin Templeton Investments has also invested in Ukrainian government bonds worth 7.6 billion dollars, making it one of Ukraine's largest creditors.


    Reporters Without Borders criticizes that a large part of the media is in the hands of oligarchs or politically influential people. According to Reporters Without Borders, there is no longer any freedom of the press in the zones of eastern Ukraine occupied by separatists and in Russian-occupied Crimea.

    In its report published in 2017, the international non-governmental organization Freedom House expressed grave concern about the security situation of journalists in Ukraine. Media representatives have been subjected to violence, intimidation and harassment both in the Ukrainian heartland and in the Russian separatist-controlled areas in the east of the country. In July 2017, prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in a car bomb attack in Kiev. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke of a "terrible tragedy". A year earlier, the journalist critical of the government, Oles Busyna , had been murdered in Kiev.

    The OSCE has expressed concerns about press freedom regarding the withdrawal of the Sawik Schuster license in 2016 and the April 2017 expulsion of journalists Anna Kurbatova, Tamara Nersesyan and Maria Knyazeva, as well as the denial of access to Spanish journalists Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Ángel Sastre.

    The Slavicist and journalist Herwig G. Höller nevertheless emphasized in 2016 that there is also media criticism in Ukraine, in stark contrast to Russia.

    News and press agencies

    The state news agency is UKRINFORM , which was founded in 1918 and publishes around 300 reports every day. Director General since 2011 Oleksandr Detsyk (b. 1979). Other influential companies include the non-state Russian news agency Interfax -Ukraine and the private Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN) controlled by oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskyi . In total, around 35 news agencies are active in Ukraine, but most are very small and take over the information from the leading news agencies. Since March 2014, the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center (UCMC), located on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in the Hotel Ukrayina , has played an important role. Funded by George Soros ( Open Society Foundations ), US public relations firm Weber Shandwick and the Ukrainian government, it disseminates news reports and footage of the crisis.

    TV channel

    Television , which was introduced in Ukraine in 1951, has had private television providers alongside state television since 1993 .

    In February 2021, President Zelenskyi issued a decree banning three opposition news channels for allegedly endangering national security and disseminating Russian propaganda:

    • ZIK (telechannel)
    • NewsOne
    • 112 Ukraine (Ukrainian: 112 Україна)

    The chairman of the Ukrainian journalists' association, Nikolai Tomilenko, spoke of an "information bomb" and said: "The denial of access to Ukrainian media for millions of people without a court (...) is an attack on freedom of expression."

    newspapers and magazines
    radio stations

    Ukrajinske Radio ( Українське Радіо ; German: Ukrainischer Rundfunk ; English: Ukrainian Radio ) is the state radio station of Ukraine with the associated foreign service Radio Ukraine International - the largest radio network, most popular talk radio in Ukraine. There are also other private radio stations.

    information technology

    Ukraine has also become known in connection with “ IT outsourcing ” in recent years . A large number of Ukrainian software development companies are mainly located in Kiev, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Donetsk and Simferopol (Crimea). In this way, the country uses its geographic and cultural proximity to Western Europe and competes with established IT service providers such as India and China. However, the turnover generated in this area cannot yet be compared with that in India.

    The largest software producers and IT service companies include Luxoft , with its headquarters in Switzerland, and Ciklum , which mainly offers offshore programming, as well as the producer of computer games GSC Game World . The IT industry employs around 50,000 engineers and programmers. In addition to Russia, Japan and the USA, EU countries are also investing here.

    In 2019, 70 percent of residents of Ukraine used the Internet .

    fairs and exhibitions


    An important tourist destination in the Ukraine is the capital Kiev, which, in addition to many historical sights , also offers a modern, vibrant cultural life. The Black Sea coast has been used as a recreation area since the times of the tsars, especially the Crimean Peninsula, which was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954. In addition to the cultural legacies of numerous peoples (Greeks, Crimean Tatars, Genoese), the Crimea offers a subtropical climate and a large number of palaces and sanatoriums. Crimea hosted the annual KaZantip electronic dance music festival until 2014 .

    In western Ukraine, the city of Lviv is worth seeing with its inner city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the adjacent Ukrainian Carpathians, there are traditional thermal spas such as Truskavets or ski resorts such as Slavske in addition to impressive nature .

    Excursions to the contaminated zone of Chernobyl north of Kiev have recently become established as a form of extreme tourism.


    From the times of the Soviet Union , the Ukraine has above all a north-south traffic orientation ( Moscow - Kiev - Odessa , Moscow - Kharkiv - Crimea ). However, since the country's independence, attempts have been made to reorganize the infrastructure in a west-east orientation and to intensify the connections to Poland , Slovakia and Hungary (connection to the Pan-European Corridor III : road connection and railway line Berlin / Dresden - Wroclaw - KrakowLviv – Kiev and V: KošiceChop – Lviv and Budapest – Chop – Lviv). Ukraine today is primarily a transit country between Central Europe and the Caucasus and between Southern Europe and Russia . The main mode of transport in Ukraine is the railway , followed by road transport and inland waterways on the Dnieper (Dnipro) River . Since the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine and after Russia's annexation of Crimea, traffic within the affected regions and traffic between Ukraine and Russia has been increasingly restricted.

    In 2018, Ukraine ranked 66th out of 160 countries in the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank and measures the quality of infrastructure. Much of the country's infrastructure has not been modernized since the Soviet era.


    The Ukrainian railway network is one of the largest in the world.

    In the Ukraine, the track gauge of 1520 mm , which is also common in Russia, is used by the railways . The construction of high-speed lines with a gauge of 1435 mm is planned. The routes in the Kiev, Lviv and eastern Ukraine areas are electrified, with non-electrified sections in between. A complete electrification is planned. The state railway manufacturer is the Luhansk Locomotive Works . The national railway company Ukrsalisnyzja was founded in 1991 and is also state-owned. In 2009, the government made initial proposals for privatization. In the course of the annexation of Crimea by Russia and in the course of hostilities in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, rail traffic was severely restricted in the regions concerned.


    Course of the medieval Via Regia and Via Imperii in Europe

    In 2012, the entire road network comprised around 169,694 km, of which 166,095 km are paved. A coherent network of motorways does not yet exist, but in many places there are highways and national roads that have been developed like motorways . The M 06 from Hungary to Kiev has been renovated in recent years and is now in very good condition from the Hungarian border across the Carpathians to Lviv . The gas station network is very dense. In some villages the roads are still poorly developed, but are gradually being renovated. Many major cities have trams and subways, such as the Metro in Kiev , and a very dense network of bus connections throughout the country.

    Kiev was the easternmost point, along with Moscow, of one of the great medieval Via Regia as far as Santiago de Compostela in Spain .

    air traffic

    The Antonov An-225, the world's largest aircraft

    All major cities have international airports. Ukraine International Airlines , Azur Air Ukraine and Yanair are the most famous airlines in Ukraine. The airports in Kiev-Boryspil , Odessa and Dnipro are the most important international commercial airports in Ukraine. The aircraft manufacturer Antonow , headquartered in Kiev, has the Antonow An-225 with a total cargo volume of 1220 m³ and a payload of 250 t (which allows the transport of 4 articulated lorries and behind them a truck and its trailer, all loaded), which is currently the world's largest Transport aircraft in action. A total of two aircraft of this type were built, with only one being completed.


    The most important inland shipping route is the Dnepr, which is also navigable for small seagoing vessels as far as Kiev; seaports are located in Chornomorsk , Mykolaiv and Kherson , the largest being the port of Odessa . Since Russia annexed Crimea, Ukraine has lost access to the seaports of Sevastopol and Kerch . The headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy was in Sevastopol on the Black Sea until the Crimean crisis , since then it has been in Odessa. There are ferry connections from Chornomorsk to Poti in Georgia, to Constanta in Romania and to Derince in Turkey.


    In Ukraine, in addition to the conventional public telephone network , which is dominated by the state (until 2011) provider Ukrtelecom at 76% (2006) , GSM mobile networks have also been set up. The largest mobile networks are currently:

    • Kyivstar/Djuice/Mobilich (2G, 3G and 4G)
    • Vodafone Ukraine (formerly: MTS or UMC)/Jeans/Sim-Sim (2G, 3G and 4G)
    • Lifecell (2G, 3G and 4G)
    • 3Mob (3G: UMTS )
    • PEOPLEnet (3G: CDMA2000 1× EV-DO)
    • Intertelecom (3G: CDMA2000 1× EV-DO)

    Ukrtelecom launched Ukraine's first UMTS mobile network in November 2007 , which has been operating as 3Mob since 2011. Ukrtelecom, privatized in 2011, is majority-owned by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov 's holding SCM . In the winter of 2014-2015, three more licenses for the UMTS mobile communications standard will be sold. These networks will go into operation in the summer of 2015 at the earliest.


    Ukraine is an important transit country for Russian natural gas. Eastern European countries, but also the Federal Republic of Germany, are supplied with Russian gas via the pipelines. In order to minimize Ukraine's strong dependence on Russian gas, a technical upgrade was initiated in 2014, which should enable gas supplies to Ukraine from Western and Central Europe.


    The canals in Ukraine are primarily used for irrigation rather than as a shipping canal . The most important canal is the North Crimean Canal , a 400+ km long irrigation canal that, from the 1970s until 2014, channeled the impounded waters of the Dnieper to the arid regions of southern Ukraine and Crimea, accounting for 85% of the total covered the water consumption of the local population.

    The Merefa-Kherson Bridge connects the banks of the Dnieper in Dnipro.


    The third longest river in Europe, the Dnieper, flows through the middle of Ukraine, dividing the country into right-bank and left-bank Ukraine . In order to connect the rail and road traffic on both banks, numerous bridges have been built, especially in the towns on the river. In addition, the dam walls that dam up the Dnepr serve as river crossings for road traffic.

    The Crimean Peninsula was connected to Russian territory by the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait .


    public holidays

    In Ukraine, the Independence Day on August 24 is celebrated as a national holiday. Public holidays are:

    Day Surname Ukrainian
    January 1st New Year Новий рік
    January 7th and December 25th Christmas Різдво Христове
    8th of March International Women's Day Міжнародний жіночий день
    1st of May Labor Day День праці
    June 28th Constitution Day of Ukraine День Конституції України
    August 24th Independence Day of Ukraine День незалежності України
    October 14th Day of the Defender of Ukraine День захисника України


    folk art

    Ukrainian postage stamps with motives of Tetyana Pata , representative of Petrykivka painting

    Folk art is very important in Ukraine. Well-known Ukrainian folk artists include Maria Prymashenko , Kateryna Bilokur and Ivan Honchar . Petrykivka painting , an original style of decorative painting, which was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2013, achieved world fame .


    Ivan Kotlyarevsky 's memorial house in Poltava . The poet and social activist was the first to introduce the living vernacular into Ukrainian literature . At a time when serfdom still existed, he wrote a burlesque Aeneid travesty ( "Енеїда", 1798), in which gods, Trojans and Romans appear as Cossacks.

    The first book published in Ukraine was written by Yuriy Drohobych in 1483. Ivan Kotlyarevsky , who lives in the city of Poltava , is considered the innovator of the written Ukrainian language. The most important writers include Ivan Franko , Lessja Ukrajinka and Taras Shevchenko , after whom Ukraine's most important cultural prize, the Taras Shevchenko Prize , which has been awarded since 1962, is named.

    Ivan Kotlyarevskyi
    Taras Shevchenko
    Ivan Franko
    Mykhailo Kozyubynskyi
    Lesya Ukrainka
    Kotlyarevsky.jpg Taras Shevchenko self portrait oil 1840-2.jpg Ivan Franko (1898).png M-kotsjubynskyj.jpg Lesya Ukrainka portrait crop.jpg


    The most important film award is named after the director and writer Oleksandr Dovschenko .


    An 11th-century mural in Kiev's St. Sophia Cathedral gives an insight into medieval music-making in what is now Ukraine. It shows skomorochi and musicians playing flutes, trumpets or shawms, lutes, psaltery ( gusli ) and dulcimer ( cymbaly ). It is unclear whether the institution of the skomorochi, who performed as dancers, jugglers and theatrical performers, is of Byzantine or Western origin, or of local origin. According to the geographical location of the country, Ukrainian folk music is influenced by Slavic and non-Slavic peoples in Eastern Europe and the Near East.

    Mykola Leontovych (1877–1921)

    Villages used to have their own regional folk music styles and performance practices, which were also differentiated by gender. The ritual song traditions were mostly performed by women and girls, the instrumental music mostly by men and boys. The entertainment songs were sung equally by the entire population at all times.

    Today's traditional folk music instruments include the lute bandura and kobsa (name related to the Romanian cobză ), the violin , the hurdy-gurdy lira , a three-string bowed bass basol(i)a (the size of a viol ), the dulcimer cymbaly , the Lute torban , a group of split -core flutes sopilka , among the Hutsuls the long wooden trumpet trembita , an accordion , the bagpipe koza (similar to the Polish koza ), the frame drum bubon and the Jew's harp drymba . A typical ensemble known as troista muzyka (from "three musicians") consists of violin, dulcimer, and bass or frame drum. When the musicians accompany folk dances such as the hutsulka , the pieces contain improvised parts.

    After gaining independence in 1991, Ukraine became a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and took part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2003 . When she took part for the second time in the following year, the singer Ruslana Lyschytschko won the ESC 2004 with her Wild Dances Project in Istanbul , the 50th anniversary edition of which was then held in 2005 in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Ukraine thus became the 21st country to win an ESC and the 20th country to host an ESC. At the ESC 2016 , Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time with the song 1944 by the singer Jamala , after which the ESC 2017 took place again in Kiev.



    Football is the most popular sport in Ukraine. Football in Ukraine is organized by the Football Union of Ukraine (FFU). The first football league in Ukraine is the Premjer-Liha . Well-known clubs are Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk . The biggest success of the young Ukrainian national football team so far was reaching the quarter-finals at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

    In Soviet times, Oleh Blokhin and Ihor Byelanov were awarded the Ballon d'Or as “ Europe's Footballer of the Year ”. Blokhin, who ended his active career in Austria at Vorwarts Steyr , was coach of the Ukrainian national team until January 2008. On April 18, 2007, the Ukraine achieved a sports-political success when the country, which has only been an independent member of the European Football Association UEFA since 1992 , was awarded the contract by the UEFA Executive Committee in the first ballot to host the 2012 European Football Championship together with Poland . The most popular soccer player from Ukraine is Andriy Shevchenko , who won the Champions League and Italian champions with AC Milan , among other things , and won the Ballon d'Or in 2004 as "Europe's Soccer Player of the Year".


    In amateur boxing, Ukraine has had three Olympic champions since 1996: Wladimir Klitschko (1996, super heavyweight), Wassyl Lomatschenko (2008, featherweight, 2012 lightweight) and Oleksandr Ussyk (2012, heavyweight). Andriy Kotelnik (2000, lightweight) and Serhiy Dotsenko (2000, welterweight) won silver medals. In addition, Ukrainian boxers won five bronze medals, including Vladimir Sidorenko (2000, flyweight) and Vyacheslav Hlaskov (2008, super heavyweight). Five athletes have won world titles in the professional division: Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko in the heavyweight division, Serhij Dsindsiruk in the light middleweight division, Sidorenko in the bantamweight division and Kotelnik in the light welterweight division.


    Serhij Bubka from Luhansk is a six-time world champion and Olympic champion in pole vaulting . He set a total of 35 world records and managed 43 jumps over the six meter mark. He has been the Chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine since 2005 .


    Ruslan Ponomaryov became FIDE World Chess Champion in 2002 , Anna Ushenina in 2012 and Marija Musychuk in 2015 . The national team became World Team Champion in 2001 and won the 2004 Chess Olympiad and the 2010 Chess Olympiad . The Ukrainian women's team won the 2006 Chess Olympiad .


    The cities of Lviv and Rivne are internationally known in speedway ; World Championship races have already been held several times in both.

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    Coordinates: 50°  N , 31°  E