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Flag of Ukraine
Ukraine coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Official language Ukrainian
capital city Kiev
State and form of government semi-presidential republic
Head of state President
Volodymyr Zelenskyi
Head of government Prime Minister
Denys Schmyhal
area 603,700 (including 26,080 km² AR Crimea and 864 km² city ​​Sevastopol ) 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% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 155 billion ( 58th )
  • $ 561 billion ( 40th )
  • 3,707 USD ( 124. )
  • 13,442 USD ( 98. )
Human Development Index 0.779 ( 74th ) (2019)
currency 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
(from the Soviet Union )
National anthem Schche ne wmerla Ukrajiny ( Ще не вмерла України )
National holiday August 24th ( Independence Day )
Time zone UTC + 2
UTC + 3 (March to October)
License Plate UA
ISO 3166 UA , UKR, 804
Internet TLD .ua
Telephone code +380
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The Ukraine ([ ukʁ̥aiːnə ] or [ ukʁ̥aɛ̯nə ], [ ʊkraenə ], [ ukraɪ̯nə ]; Ukrainian Україна , [ ukrɑjinɑ ] Ukrajina , Russian Украина Ukraine [ Ukra (j) iˑnɐ ]) is a state in Eastern Europe . With an area of ​​603,700 square kilometers, it is the largest state whose borders are entirely within Europe. After Russia, it has the second largest national territory in Europe . Ukraine borders Russia in the northeast and east, Belarus in the north, Poland , Slovakia and Hungary in the west, Romania and the Republic of Moldova in the southwest, and the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov in the south. The capital and largest metropolis of the country is Kiev , other metropolitan areas are Kharkiv , Dnipro , Donetsk and Odessa .

The Kievan Rus was the medieval forerunner of Russia, Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus. The area of ​​today's Ukraine alternated between claims to rule, 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, an armed conflict broke out in parts of eastern Ukraine , which continues to this day. The 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 can be found in the Kiev Chronicle of Hypatius for the year 1187 with reference to the principality of Pereyaslavl . According to this, this word can be found in chronicles in relation to different geographical regions of the Rus , also far outside the area of ​​today's Ukraine.

The traditional etymological interpretation of the country's name refers to the Old-East Slavic word ukraina , which meant "border area, military border" and corresponded to the western term mark . This view is dominant both in international historiography and in Ukrainian, as it is supported by the national historian Mychajlo Hruschewskyj and the Encyclopedia of Ukraine , among others . Most authors agree that this name, which initially referred to the border area to the so-called Wilder Feld with its Turkic equestrian nomads, existed for a long time without any ethnic reference. About when the word Ukraine to the parallel term for the Church and in the Russian Empire officially used the name Little Russia has been, there are different views, however.

However, since the East Slavic root krai can mean both “edge, border” and “area, country”, the view in national Ukrainian historiography has gained popularity that the word ukraina in chronicles since the 12th century has meant “independent Dominion, Principality ”was used. The assertion that goes with it, such as with Hryhorij Piwtorak , that there was always a strict distinction between ukraina "principality" and okraina "borderland", however, contradicts a large number of primary sources; it is also contradicted by numerous other authors.


The Eurasian steppe belt , cultural and economic exchange corridor of humanity
The Crimean Mountains about 1,200 m above sea level

About 95% of Ukraine lies on the territory of the Eastern European level , which is why it is counted almost exclusively to 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 of the great plain can be found in southern western Ukraine , where the country shares in the Forest Carpathians and the Pannonian Plain , as well as in the extreme south. The highest mountain in the country is the Hoverla in the Tschornohora , which reaches a height of 2061  m . The highest point in the Crimea is the Roman Kosch with a height of 1545 meters.

On the members of the East European Plain large part of the country in particular cover the north and south lowlands (Ukrainian Низовина ) such as the Dnieper Lowland and the Black Sea sink . The terrain there reaches heights between 0 and 200 m. Due to the small height differences , the rivers in this area flow very slowly. In the lowlands, there are small gas and oil deposits , especially in the Poltava Oblast in central Ukraine , 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 extend from west to east with terrain heights between 200 and 470 m ( Kamula ), the plates (Ukrainian Височина ) are called. These include, for example, the Podolian Plateau , the Dnepr highlands or the Donets Plateau . These plates consist mainly of rock from the ancient times, which has been raised again by the formation of the Alpid mountain belt in the last 10 million years. They are rich in raw materials such as iron ore and coal . The largest ore deposits are found in the Krywbass around the city of Krywyj Rih in the west of the Dnepropetrovsk Oblast , while the coal deposits are predominantly in the area of ​​the Donets Basin 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.

The northwest of Ukraine is known as Volhynia . This landscape is counted with Galicia to the "germ cells" of an independent Ukraine, since these areas were only ceded by Poland to the Soviet Union in the course of the Second World War . Up until then, with brief exceptions, parts of western Ukraine had almost never been part of an empire ruled from Moscow. Since Austria's defeat of the Galician Russophile movement , the majority of the population has been very reserved about Russia. The origin of the Ukrainian culture and language is probably in the Dnepr region southeast of Kiev, where the Cossack state existed for a short time in the 17th century .

The geographic center of the country is located near the settlement 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 Dilowe in the Transcarpathian Oblast . Since there are different methods for calculating the center point and the eastern borders of Europe are arbitrary and therefore not clearly defined, several other places also 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
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Kiev
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul 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 12th
Min. 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 Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center, data: 1961–1990

Apart from the mountain areas and the south-western and southern coastal regions, Ukraine can be divided into three major zones in terms of climate, soil and vegetation. In the north-west it is part of the Pripyat wetlands , which were particularly shaped by earlier glacier advances from Scandinavia during the Ice Ages . The worst soils in the country can be found here. In addition, this region was particularly hard hit by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The area receives a relatively high amount of precipitation (500–750 mm), the summers are mild with average temperatures in July of 17 to 19 ° C.

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

In the south-east borders the steppe zone , which has only relatively low rainfall of sometimes less than 250 mm per year. Here, too, the summers are relatively hot with average temperatures in July of sometimes over 23 ° C. The fertile black and maroon soils of this area could mainly only be valued from the middle of the 20th century, after extensive irrigation systems were created through the construction of dams on the large rivers (see also: Reservoirs in the Ukraine ).

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


Dnieper river in Kiev

The southern coast of Ukraine has a 2782 km long portion of the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov . The numerous rivers that cross the country and flow into the Black Sea include the Dnieper , the Southern Bug and the Dniester . In the west the Danube forms a 54 km long border between Romania and Ukraine . Jalpuhsee , the largest natural lake in Ukraine, is also located here . Other large rivers are the Desna , the Prut , the Horyn and the Siwerskyj Donets . Many smaller rivers are characterized by marshy banks with reeds. The Kerch Strait , a 40 km long strait, connects the Black Sea with the Sea of ​​Azov and separates the Crimean peninsula from the Taman peninsula (Russia). The largest swamp area in Europe extends over Polesia with a size of 90,000 km² .

In the north-west of the country lies the Shazk National Park with Lake Switjas .

Islands and peninsulas

The Black Sea islands include Jarylhatsch , Tusla and Snake Island (has belonged to Ukraine since 1948) in the south of the country. By far the most famous peninsula is the Crimea , which - from the point of view of the Ukrainian state and the large majority of the United Nations General Assembly - has belonged to Ukraine since 1954, but has been claimed and de facto controlled by Russia since 2014. The island of Khortytsia in the urban area of Zaporizhia is the largest Dnieper island. Numerous other river islands of the Dnieper are located near Kiev and in its mouth 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 Carpathian Mountains . They count in July 2007 for World Natural Heritage of UNESCO . Almost 16% of the country's area is forested (mainly with beech , pine , birch , aspen , oak , alder , ash and maple ). In addition to the Carpathian Mountains, the Dnieper Basin and the Pripyat Basin are 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 . In addition to it, a lot of rye , barley , potatoes , maize and especially buckwheat are grown. The sunflower is the national plant .


In addition to the natural biodiversity, there are pheasants , cranes and peacocks . In addition, exotic species such as the African ostrich have been introduced into the Askanija-Nowa nature reserve . Small monkeys also live there. The camel is one of the traditional breeding animals of the Crimea . The seas around the peninsula are home to some species of dolphins and whales . Water turtles , lizards, and snakes are found across the country. Raccoons , wild boars , bears , wolves and deer are forest dwellers and are therefore most common in western and northern Ukraine. In Askanija-Nowa there are over 100 specimens of the critically endangered Przewalski horse , which was introduced to Europe from Mongolia around 1900 . The tarpan lived in the wild in Ukraine until 200 years ago , when it was eventually exterminated. The Ukrainian steppe cattle were widespread in Ukraine until the beginning of the 20th century .

natural reserve

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


Population pyramid Ukraine 2016


The population of Ukraine in 2015, including Crimea, was around 44 million (42 million excluding Crimea). Ukraine's population has been falling 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 for every 1,000 inhabitants, making 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. Ukraine has a surplus of women due to high male death rates. Population growth was −0.4 percent in 2016, making Ukraine one of the countries that is losing its inhabitants fastest 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 them 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 born abroad in 2017, most of them in Russia.

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

Before the First World War , a German-speaking minority of several hundred thousand people lived in what is now the 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, Bukowina and Volhynia, which are now part of western Ukraine. In 1944 there were massacres of the Polish population, especially in Volhynia, of which over 40,000 Poles fell victim. After the war and the annexation of the Polish territories east of the Bug , the Polish population was expelled in the course of the c.

Up 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 circulation areas of the Yiddish language . The survivors have since emigrated to the USA , Israel and, to a small extent, to Germany . In 2001 around 100,000 Jews were still living in Ukraine . Their number continues to decline because of emigration and the general decline in the birth rate.

Woman in traditional costume, she wears the " Wyschywanka ", a blouse with elaborate Ukrainian cross-stitch embroidery and the traditional flower wreath , 1916.
Ruschnyk - a woven linen cloth with Ukrainian cross-stitch embroidery, a symbol of hospitality and a permanent feature of folk art . Each region has its own motifs, special features of the composition and the colors that are handed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. Rushnyk Museum in Pereyaslav .
Traditional Ukrainian dance ensemble


Majority Ethnies in the Rajonen of Ukraine (2001)
Share of ethnic Ukrainians in the total population in the regions of Ukraine (2001)
Proportion 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 in Transcarpathia are a minority not recognized by the state . In addition to the ten largest ethnic groups, there are also smaller minorities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, including 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 a high Russian population of 39.0% and 38.2% (2001 census) are the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in the southeast of Ukraine. Most of the Russians in Ukraine live in cities. In rural regions only 6.9% of the population are Russians, while Ukrainians make up 87.0% of the population there.

Ethnicity Number in 2001 Share 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 from multiethnic states in the regions of Ukraine complicate the language question:

The vast majority of the population have a command of both the Ukrainian language and the Russian language . However, when it gained independence in 1991, Russian lost its status as an official language. Both languages ​​are East Slavic languages and thus related. A common oral hybrid form of the Ukrainian language with the Russian is the surschyk .

In the 2001 census, the mother tongue of the population was also determined according to the respondents' own statements. Here, a share of the population of 67.5% was determined for the Ukrainian language. The difference to 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 Julija Tymoshenko , whose mother tongue is Russian. The members of the smaller nationality groups predominantly named Russian as their mother tongue, with Ukrainian dominating only among the Poles. Russian was the mother tongue of 29.6% of the residents. In most of the western and central Ukrainian oblasts, the census found that Ukrainian speakers were more than 90% native. In Ternopil Oblast , the proportion of Ukrainian native speakers reached 98.3%. In most of the southern Ukrainian oblasts, two thirds of the population said Ukrainian was their mother tongue. In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol , the proportion of native Ukrainians was only 10.1% and 6.8%, respectively. In the eastern Ukrainian regions oblast Kharkov , oblast Dnipropetrowsk and oblast Saporischschja Ukrainian native represent the majority language with values between 50.2% to 67%. Ukrainian native speakers are a minority in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast with shares of 24.1% and 30.0%.

Russian native speakers make up the majority of languages ​​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 native Russian speakers is 74.9% and 68.8%, respectively. In southern Ukraine (excluding the Crimean peninsula), the proportion of native Russian speakers is usually around 30%. In northern and central Ukraine, the proportion of native Russian speakers is between 1.2% in Ternopil Oblast and 10.3% in Chernihiv Oblast . In the city of Kiev and in Sumy Oblast , the values ​​differ by 25.4% and 15.6%, respectively.

Statistics from the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine from 2011 show 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 poll from 1993 found that 53% of the population preferred to use Russian in conversations, a figure that also appeared in statistics from 2013. Several surveys revealed a Russian-speaking majority in regions where Ukrainian predominated according to the official census, including the Kharkov and Odessa oblasts. In the West, 94.4% speak Ukrainian, 2.5% Surschyk and 3.1% Russian. B. in the south, to which the Crimean peninsula belongs, 82.3% speak Russian, 12.4% Surschyk 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 had risen to 67.5%. The proportion of Russian native speakers in 1989 was 32.8% of the total population by 2001 it had fallen to 29.6%. Ukrainian has been the only official language in the country since 1991, although large parts of the population are demanding that Russian 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. At many Ukrainian universities, especially in the technical field, however, due to a lack of Ukrainian specialist literature, lessons are predominantly or only in Russian.

The "language question" is a hot topic in Ukrainian politics. The Russian-oriented Party of Regions and the Communist Party advocate full equality of Russian as the second official language. The “orange”, western-oriented parties around the former presidents Yushchenko and Julija Tymoshenko as well as nationalist parties, however, 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 encourage the use of the Ukrainian language. However, President Yanukovych, elected in 2010, overturned many of these measures, against which the opposition around Yulia Tymoshenko protested vehemently.

Yanukovych initially also spoke out against the introduction of Russian as the second state language, as the situation in parliament made the necessary amendment of the Ukrainian constitution, for which a two-thirds majority is required, impossible. Yanukovych also feared protests from the nationalist camp. In spring 2012, however, his Party of Regions took up the language issue again. Despite violent, sometimes violent protests by the opposition in parliament, a law was passed according to which in a region in which at least ten percent of the population have another mother tongue, it 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 (Transcarpathian), Romanian (Bukovina) and Crimean Tatar (Crimea) also received a regional upgrade . In addition, Ukraine recognized the Russian language for the first time , which had previously been officially treated as a dialect of Ukrainian.

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

In September 2017, the Ukrainian parliament passed a new draft law restricting the right to instruction for ethnic minorities in 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.


Dominant religion in the regions (according to the proportion of registered religious communities)
  • 50% - 66% Catholic (mostly 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 mixed denominational country. About 75% of Ukrainians belong to the Orthodox Churches . 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 Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, which was established after 1991. A bitter dispute raged between the two churches over legitimacy and property claims. The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was considered the third Eastern Orthodox Church in the country. Their legitimacy was also controversial. In October 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch, against the opposition of the Russian Orthodox Church, recognized the churches as canonical and placed the territory of Ukraine under its direct jurisdiction with the aim of uniting the three churches. On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev merged Patriarchate with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine . The church, which is subordinate to the Moscow Patriarch, boycotted the synod at which the merger was decided. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , which was established in 1596, also follows the Orthodox rite , although it recognizes the supremacy of the Pope and is united with Rome. It has around 5.5 million believers, mainly in the west of the country.

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

    Bless you

    The life expectancy of men in Ukraine is 67.1 years, women live on average 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, 0.2% of the total population was infected with the HI virus at the end of 2006 . It is estimated that at the beginning of 2008 1.7% of the adult population (aged 15 to 49) were infected. It is not clear to what extent this is a long-standing disease frequency. The Ukraine is thus the hardest hit country in Europe . According to an estimate by UN-AIDS , around 240,000 people were living with HIV in Ukraine in 2016 , but only around 139,000 of them are officially registered according to the NGO All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV / AIDS .

    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 in nine oblasts on October 30, 2009 after a series of deaths. In total, the Ukrainian authorities confirmed the deaths of 33 people. The Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confirmed only eleven deaths. In the west of the country there were hamster purchases in pharmacies. The Ukrainian armed forces deployed doctors, paramedics and reservists to take care of the masses of people suffering from the flu. "The situation threatens to get completely out of hand," said the head of the parliamentary security committee, Anatoly Hryzenko .



    The Scythian golden pectoral from the Kurgan Towsta Mohyla, fourth century BC. Chr.

    In the early days, mostly Indo-European peoples (including Cimmerians , Scythians and Sarmatians ) resided in the area of ​​today's Ukraine . In addition, emerged in the seventh to sixth centuries BC. Several Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, established in the fifth century BC. Formed the Bosporan Empire . In the third and fourth centuries, Goths settled in the south between the Dnestr and Dnieper rivers and in the Crimea . In 375 they were subjugated 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 the Kievan Rus around 1000 AD

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

    The Kievan Rus reached their heyday in the 10th and 11th centuries after they had enforced trade privileges in Byzantium through military campaigns and destroyed the Khazar Empire . With the Greek Orthodox Christianization of Rus in 988, a remarkable cultural boom began. However, feudal processes of division began in the 12th century. Due to the political fragmentation, the Old Russian Empire succumbed to the invasion of the Mongols from 1237 to 1240 , who made the Rus tribute to their empire of the Golden Horde . The north-eastern part of the Rus ( Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal , Ryazan , Tver ) remained under their rule until 1480, while the south-western areas and Galicia-Volhynienin were 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 came, which later formed a joint Republic of Poland-Lithuania with Poland . Areas of today's Ukraine came under Polish rule from the 16th century. In the east, the Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal became the Grand Duchy of Moscow , which gradually consolidated all neighboring Russian principalities and finally subjugated the Tatar Khanate of Kazan . Due to its expansion, Ukraine became a Russian-Polish rival area and borderland. In the Black Sea region, the rule of the Crimean Khanate continued under Ottoman suzerainty until the 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 Wildes Feld), 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, were Don Cossacks and Ukraine the Zaporozhye or Dneprkosaken -.

    Modern times

    Legal discrimination, economic exploitation and religious pressure on the Orthodox population of south-western Russia on the part of the Polish crown and the Polish magnates repeatedly led to bloody uprisings against Polish rule, which were further encouraged by the imposed church union of Brest in 1596. In 1648, Ukraine liberated itself from the rule of Poland in a popular uprising led by the Cossack hetman Bohdan Khmelnyzkyj and the Zaporozhian Cossacks founded an independent state, the hetmanate . In 1654, in the Treaty of Pereyaslav , the Cossacks submitted to the sovereignty of the Moscow Tsar, and as a result the left bank Ukraine (in relation to the Dnieper River) with Kiev came under Russian rule. The hetmanate of the Cossacks existed as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire until the reign of Catherine the Great .

    The Right-bank Ukraine , including Volyn and Podolia remained first with Poland-Lithuania. The right bank hetmanate was dissolved by the Poles in the 17th century. When Poland was partitioned at the end of the 18th century, the right bank of Ukraine also fell to Russia, the regions of Galicia in the west of Ukraine and Bukovina in 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 New Russia under the direction of Grigori Potjomkin 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 (historical 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 Paleon of Settlement .

    In the 19th century, a national movement began to develop in what is now Ukraine. She rejected the idea of ​​a triune Russian people made up of Great Russians, Little Russians and Belarusians, preferred by the Tsarist government , and sought the formation of a “Ukrainian” nation and, as the ultimate goal, a nation-state. Important national thought leaders were the national poet Taras Shevchenko and the historians Mykola (Nikolaj) Kostomarow 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 printed matter 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), unlike Russia, were recognized as a nationality. In competition with the “Ukrainian” identity stood 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)

    After the Russian February Revolution in 1917 and during the German and Austrian occupation at the end of the First World War, short-lived Ukrainian nation states, the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian People's Republic emerged . 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 was completely occupied by July 1919 as part of the Polish-Ukrainian War ; however, in the Polish-Soviet War, the Polish troops were pushed back shortly afterwards. As a result, the western Ukrainian territories fell to Poland , Romania and Czechoslovakia , and central, eastern and southern Ukraine to the Russian Soviet Republic . At the same time, the predominantly peasant Machno movement in the south-east of the country managed to carry out an anarchist revolution. At first the anarchists helped the Soviet Bolsheviks against the conservative-monarchist “ whites ” of Anton Denikin , but then they themselves were destroyed by the Bolsheviks. During the very eventful and bloody Russian Civil War , most of the Ukraine was conquered by the Red Army and annexed to Soviet Russia under Leon Trotsky . With the establishment of the Soviet Union in December 1922, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) was established. The early Bolshevik nationality policy of the Korenizazija aimed to win the minorities over to the socialist idea and at the same time to weaken the reactionary unified Russian forces. A state policy of Ukrainization , which continued until 1931, began , which promoted the Ukrainian language and increased the proportion of Ukrainians in the Communist Party and the authorities.

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

    For the young Soviet Union, Ukraine was the "breadbasket". When agriculture was forcibly collectivized under Josef Stalin since 1929 , there was a famine known as the Holodomor in Ukraine, which according to the latest estimates claimed around 3.5 million lives, more than in other areas of the Soviet Union together (other estimates are between 2.4 million and up to 14.5 million victims). Ukrainian historians believe that it was brought about on purpose. Lazar Kaganovich is considered to be the main person responsible for the terror in connection with forced collectivization. However, the evaluation of the historical events is controversial.

    Second World War

    As a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact , after the German attack on Poland and the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland in the summer of 1939 , the western Ukrainian areas that had belonged to Poland since 1921 were annexed by the Soviet Union , as agreed in the German-Soviet border and friendship treaty . After the start of the German-Soviet War , they became part of the German General Government in August 1941 . After its occupation by the German Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1943/44, the greater part of the territory of Ukraine was under civil administration as Reichskommissariat Ukraine by the Reich Ministry for the occupied eastern territories .

    Sections of the Ukrainian population waged a partisan war against the German occupiers, others, especially in Galicia, cooperated 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 in the hands of Soviet authorities, their suppression by units of the NKVD lasted well beyond the end of the Second World War.

    Ukraine was the scene of numerous mass murders of Jews, Poles and Soviet prisoners of war ( Babi Yar massacre ). Over 2 million Ukrainians were deported to Germany as Eastern workers. World War II claimed around 4 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 the scorched earth tactic , first by the Red Army, then by the German occupiers on their respective retreats. There were about ten million homeless people in Ukraine in 1945.

    post war period

    In the course of Poland's shift to the west , almost the entire Polish population was evacuated from the formerly Polish areas of today's western Ukraine , some of them forcibly expelled. In return, the Ukrainian minority in Poland was forcibly relocated to the Ukraine, and in some cases to the west of Poland.

    After the war, the whole of Ukraine was united in one state, the Soviet Union , for the first time . On October 24, 1945, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic joined the United Nations as a founding member . In 1954, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Pereyaslav Agreement, the Crimea Oblast was transferred from the Russian (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). The post-war period in Ukraine was marked by reconstruction and heavy 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 Pechersk Lavra is one of the national sanctuaries of the three East Slavic nations.

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Ukraine gained its state independence after a referendum with 90.3% approval . The women's suffrage was confirmed. Since independence, Ukraine has sought its national identity and its international role between a western orientation, e.g. integration into the European Union , and an eastern orientation, i. H. a political orientation towards Russia. Ukraine has suffered severe economic and demographic problems since independence. Since its independence, the population has decreased by more than 6.25 million people. The economic efficiency as in the time of the Soviet Union has not been achieved since then. Ukraine's gross domestic product in 2012 was only 69.3% of the 1990 level.

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

    In the 2004 presidential election in Ukraine , the Orange Revolution , the western-oriented presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko prevailed against the Russian-backed Viktor Yanukovych . Many political observers saw this as pointing the way for the orientation of Ukraine. The most important 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 the political stagnation, the Ukrainians elected the Russian-oriented Viktor Yanukovych to the presidency at the beginning of 2010.

    Recent past

    The protests known as Euromaidan began in November 2013 when the signing of the EU association was suspended under pressure from Russia. In contrast to the “Orange Revolution” of 2004, the Euromaidan movement was also directed against widespread corruption. In February 2014, an agreement was reached that provided for a return to the constitution that was in effect until September 2010 and included the de facto dismissal of Viktor Yanukovych.

    As a result, a transitional government was formed on February 27, 2014 under Arseniy Yatsenjuk . Later on, Russia occupied and annexed Crimea in violation of international law , and secessionist movements broke out in eastern Ukraine, which escalated into a serious armed conflict that has lasted since 2014. On February 15, 2015, an agreement called Minsk II was concluded, which aims to de-escalate and pacify the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    According to Leszek Balcerowicz, Ukraine absorbed the shocks from the legacy of the former president and from Russian military and economic aggression through an embargo within the next two years . The pending reforms should include privatizations, as the state still owns many loss-making companies from which money is being siphoned. In the spring of 2017, after a ruling by the Stockholm arbitration court, the latent threat of a billions lawsuit by Gazprom , which was a holdover from the decades-old gas dispute , or the gag agreement of 2009, seemed to be dropped . On November 26, 2018, the Ukrainian parliament imposed a state of emergency limited to 30 days . It was a reaction to the massive attacks by the Russian coast guard on Ukrainian ships and the risk of a large-scale invasion by the Russian Federation due to massive concentrations of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border .


    Political indices
    Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
    Fragile States Index 69 of 120 92 of 178 Stability of the country: Warning
    0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
    Democracy index 5.81 out of 10 79 of 167 Hybrid regime
    0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
    Freedom in the World Index 62 of 100 - Freedom status: partially free
    0 = not free / 100 = free
    Freedom of the press ranking 32.52 out of 100 96 of 180 Recognizable problems for the freedom of the press
    0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
    Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 33 of 100 117 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

    Political system

    Political system of Ukraine

    Ukraine is to the Constitution of Ukraine is a democratic , republican , socially - and constitutionally organized 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 de jure ) the right to dispose of 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 judicial branches , even before Montesquieu's Vom Geist der Gesetz (1748). Ukrainians refer to them in their justifications and formulations of their own democratic statehood.

    The constitution of Ukraine dates from June 28, 1996 and, as a constitutional state law, claims the highest legal authority. All measures taken by 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 examining the constitutionality of state action .

    Changes to this are incumbent on 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 drawn up as a constitution-amending law by the President of Ukraine. Changes to the state principles, elections and referendums, as well as the provisions on the constitutional amendment also require approval in a referendum .

    This happened for the first time with Law No. 2222-IV of December 8, 2004, and circumcised, among other things. the rights of the president at the time. These changes were rejected as unconstitutional and declared null and void by a decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on October 1, 2010. As part of the political crisis in 2013/14 , parliament passed true to the " agreement on the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine " on 21 February 2014, the re-enactment of the amendments of 2004. However, this Parliament decision lacked the constitutional validity the signature of the then incumbent President Viktor 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 in its original version from 1996 will continue to apply.

    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 supposed to uphold the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and is at the head of the executive branch.

    The President's duties include:

    • the appointment of the Prime Minister with the consent of 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,
    • Execution of parliamentary laws with the possibility of a veto against parliamentary decisions,
    • Right to repeal government measures and determine the scope of ministries,
    • Exercising the right of grace for the whole of Ukraine,
    • Establishment or dissolution of courts and judicial branches,
    • Chair of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine
    • Supreme command of the armed forces of Ukraine , the imposition of martial law and general mobilization in the event of tension or war,
    • early dissolution of parliament,
    • Ordinances and decrees to the executive bodies, 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 for a term of five years by direct election by the people of Ukraine. A candidate may not hold office for more than two terms in a row. Eligible are those who are at least 35 years old, have Ukrainian citizenship, are actively eligible to vote and have lived in Ukraine for at least 10 years.

    Premature resignation from office is possible through own resignation, determination of health-related incapacity, a formal impeachment procedure or the death of the office holder.

    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 legislative period of 5 years, with the election date and procedure being determined by the outgoing parliament. Members of the Rada enjoy legal immunity for the duration of the legislative period and are not allowed to exercise any (other) office within Ukraine, in particular not be part of the executive branch. Apart from the expiry 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 held 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,
    • Approval of the appointment of the Prime Minister and the other officials appointed by the President, as well as motions of no confidence in them,
    • Decision on the framework conditions for domestic and foreign policy of the Cabinet of Ministers and the President,
    • Establishment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,
    • Decision on the event 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, insofar as this has been determined by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine for unconstitutional behavior,
    • 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 approval of the Verkhovna Rada. The remaining members of the Cabinet are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The term of office of the cabinet is linked to the term of office of the Prime Minister. The Verkhovna Rada can cast a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, with the result that the prime minister and the entire cabinet must be dismissed from office by the president. Due to its bilateral 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.

    Finally, the government of Prime Minister was Mykola Azarov of the Party of Regions on the support of the Communist Party dependent and independent MPs. Azarov was released from the Verkhovna Rada on January 28, 2014 by Yanukovych's resignation. With the government business up to the appointment of a new government, the previous First Vice Prime Minister Serhiy Arbusov , also from the Party of Regions, was provisionally appointed. On February 22, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada decided to dismiss him as acting prime minister and to transfer the leadership of the cabinet of ministers to the parliamentary 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 parliament rejected its offer to resign. A coalition government ruled from December 2, 2014 to April 14, 2016 under the confirmed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenjuk , which had formed after the parliamentary elections at the end of October . On April 14, 2016, after Yatsenyuk resigned, it was replaced 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 had accepted a resignation from Oleksij Hontscharuk on March 4, 2020, it elected Denys Schmyhal as the new prime minister on the same day .

    Elections and political parties

    The Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine , an authority based in Kiev, is responsible for organizing and conducting the presidential and parliamentary elections, local elections and referendums . The 15 members of the commission are elected for a period of 7 years by the Verkhovna Rada and appointed by the President. A so-called trench voting system has been in place for parliamentary elections since 2011 .

    The political party landscape in Ukraine is changing, new parties are emerging, older parties are merging or changing their names. Thus, Ukrainian politics is partly more shaped 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 vis-à-vis the EU or 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. Kiev city
    4. Autonomous Republic of Crimea
    5. Luhansk Oblast
    6. Lviv Oblast
    7. Mykolaiv Oblast
    8. Odessa Oblast
    9. Poltava Oblast
    1. Rivne Oblast
    2. Sumy Oblast
    3. Ternopil Oblast
    4. Vinnytsia Oblast
    5. Volyn Oblast
    6. Zakarpattia Oblast
    7. Zaporizhia Oblast
    8. Sevastopol city
    9. Zhytomyr Oblast

    The Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukrainian Автономна Республіка Крим ), officially the Crimean Oblast at the time of the USSR, is geographically the Crimean peninsula without the administratively independent city of Sevastopol and has Simferopol as its capital .

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

    Ukraine is a unitary state ; for a long time the oblasts and municipalities had very little authority. On June 28, 2014, Ukrainian President Poroshenko announced that there would be a 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. Odessa Одеса 1,010,783
    4th Dnipro Дніпро 976.525
    5. Donetsk Донецьк 927.201
    6th Zaporizhia Запоріжжя 750.685
    7th Lviv (Lviv) Львів 727.968
    8th. Kryvyi Rih Кривий Ріг 636.294
    9. Mykolaiv Миколаїв 490.762
    10. Mariupol Маріуполь 449,498
    11th Sevastopol Севастополь 382,878
    12th Luhansk Луганськ 413,370
    13th Vinnytsia Вінниця 372,672
    14th Simferopol Сімферополь 341.155
    15th Makiivka Макіївка 347.376

    Foreign policy

    States with an embassy or consulate of Ukraine

    Ukrainian foreign policy in the first years of state independence was described by Ukrainian politicians as "multivectoral" and often perceived as inconsistent by political observers abroad. On the one hand, Ukraine sought rapprochement with NATO and the EU ; on the other hand, good relations with its large neighbor Russia were of fundamental importance for the country. It was not until President Viktor Yushchenko took office in January 2005 that the country's orientation towards the West and the associated membership of the country in the EU were his political goal. When it became increasingly clear in the following years that Ukraine had no realistic prospect of accession to the EU at the time, Yushchenko sought rapid accession to NATO in 2008. Despite US support, the Bucharest NATO Council meeting in April 2008 did not take a formal decision on Ukraine's immediate membership status, which ultimately amounted to a rejection of the membership request.

    In the 2010 presidential elections, the four leading candidates Viktor Yanukovych, Yulia Tymoshenko, Serhiy Tihipko and Arseny Yatsenjuk spoke out in favor of introducing “European standards” in Ukraine. They all stood for a 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 bind himself more closely to Russia . On June 8, 2017, the Ukrainian parliament once again set NATO membership as a foreign policy goal. The Ukrainian-Russian Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership was signed on June 1, 1997, but was not ratified by the parliaments until April 1999. According to Ukrainian pronouncements in September 2018, it should not be extended by Ukraine when it expires on April 1, 2019.

    In February 2019, the goal of NATO and EU accession was set in the constitution.

    Geopolitical Significance of Ukraine

    Due to its location at the interface between Europe and Asia, Ukraine is accorded great geopolitical importance. In Zbigniew Brzeziński's work The Only World Power (1997) it is considered to be the geopolitical "pivot point",

    “Because its very existence as an independent state contributes to the transformation of Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia is no longer a Eurasian Empire. However, if Moscow were to regain 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, this would have direct consequences for Central Europe and would make Poland a geopolitical focal point on the eastern border of a united Europe. "

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


    Ukraine is a member of the following international organizations:
    organization accession
    United Nations
    Flag of the United Nations.svg UN
    (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
    September 1993
    Logo WTO-OMC.svg WTO , World Trade Organization
    May 16, 2008
    Logo IWF.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 Cooperation in Europe
    January 30, 1992
    1Although the then Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as part of the Soviet Union was not a sovereign state, in 1945 it received full status among the 51 founding members of the United Nations, such as the Philippines , India and the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic , which were also not independent at the time .
    • Ukraine founded the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) together with Russia and Belarus , but did not ratify its statute and therefore never became a full member, but was merely a “participating state”. It was only associated with the former economic union of the confederation of states and its successor organization, the Eurasian Economic Union , founded in 2015, no longer joined. Ukraine was also not a member of the military alliance concluded in the Tashkent Treaty . Nonetheless, the then Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma held the CIS presidency from January 29, 2003 to September 16, 2004, when he was replaced by the then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin . After the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reacted in May 2014 with the decision to leave the CIS, which was ultimately not carried out. Instead, the factual exclusion from the confederation took place on January 1, 2015 through an ukase from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who terminated free trade with Ukraine. Finally, Ukraine left the CIS in 2018 in protest against the Russian occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

    Cooperation with the EU

    In 2007 Ukraine ranked 4th in Europe in terms of the number of people with a high level of education ( tertiary education ), behind Russia, Great Britain and France.
    Age structure of the Ukraine of the International Futures Program (2012)
    The University of Kiev is one of the most important educational institutions of 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, among others, are named as priorities in the action plan:

    • Promoting Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO); steady removal of barriers to bilateral trade.
    • Ukrainian laws, norms and standards are gradually being brought into line with those of the EU.
    • Negotiations on employment issues, for example opportunities for Ukrainian citizens to work in the EU.
    • Negotiations to facilitate the issuing of travel visas.
    • Fulfillment of the agreements 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 mentioned the following measures to strengthen economic relations with Ukraine:

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

    Ukraine's relations with the EU are based on:

    • the partnership and cooperation agreement (in force since March 1, 1998),
    • the "Joint EU-Ukraine Strategy" adopted by the European Council in Helsinki on December 14, 1999,
    • the concept for a "European Neighborhood Policy" presented by the EU Commission in March 2003 and approved by the EU member states ("Greater Europe - Neighborhood: a new framework for the EU's relations with its eastern and southern neighbors").

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

    The only aim of the EU's “European Neighborhood Policy” is to intensify cooperation with the EU's neighboring states, which is concretized through “action plans”. For Eastern European neighbors, in addition to the action plan for Ukraine, an action plan for the neighboring country of Moldova has been adopted in December 2004 .

    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 offer any prospect of membership.

    In contrast, the former Ukrainian President Yushchenko has repeatedly emphasized, for example on January 25, 2005 in front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg , that he is 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 in favor of anchoring the goal of EU accession in the constitution. The constitutional court should then examine the change at a time when surveys show that 58 percent of those questioned agreed with this goal in the population. On February 7th, this goal was set, along with that of NATO accession.

    Security policy

    Justice and Police

    Ukrainian policemen in Kiev

    The judiciary is entrusted to the courts of Ukraine. Although they are formally independent by the constitution , the separation between jurisdiction and politics and economic interests is only weak in practice. Ukraine's jurisprudence is considered to be very susceptible to corruption. In principle, there is a unified principle with regard to the division of jurisdiction: The courts are basically responsible for all judicial proceedings, regardless of the matter to be dealt with. The judiciary has four instances: local courts, regional courts, appeal courts 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 authority to reject laws, decides on the interpretation of the constitution and takes part in the impeachment of the president and the dissolution of the local parliament of the Crimea.

    A (political) prosecutor general (Ukrainian Генеральний прокурор України Heneralyj Prokuror Ukraijny ) is responsible for criminal prosecution, based on the Soviet model, who 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 assist 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 . Meanwhile, the defense budget has risen to $ 4.88 billion. The equipment is mostly 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 and a navy with approx. 17,500 soldiers, including 3,000 marines .

    Furthermore, there are 39,900 men in the troops of the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, 45,000 men in the Ukrainian border guards (including 14,000 coast guards ) and over 9,500 men in civil defense (disaster operations).

    The military service is a legal obligation for men, which commences with the completion of 18 years of age, and lasts nine months. The abolition of compulsory military service and the transition to a professional army should take place in 2014. Due to the "deterioration in the security situation in the east and south of the country", men between the ages of 18 and 25 will have to do their military service again from May 2014. In July 2018, the president declared that Ukraine was spending six percent of its gross domestic product on defense due to the war in eastern Ukraine .

    State budget

    The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditure of the equivalent of 31.6 billion US dollars , which was offset by income of the equivalent of 29.8 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 6.5% of GDP .

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

    In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was in the following areas:

    By 2014 Ukraine's foreign debt rose 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 calls in a previously granted loan of 3 billion euros to Ukraine because of a breach of the contractual terms, which stipulated a debt ceiling of 60 percent of GDP, the Paris Club should assume this payment obligation in order to avoid a general default and a loss of capital to prevent private creditors. The immediate payments necessary to avoid a financial collapse in Ukraine, estimated by the IMF at $ 15 billion, are nowhere near sufficient. Against the background of the looming payment defaults, George Soros , whose fund is heavily invested in Ukraine, negotiated in Kiev on January 13, 2015 with politicians and parliamentarians, among others. on the establishment of a state fund to protect private investors.

    Human rights

    Amnesty International criticizes police violence in Ukraine. The human rights organization documented torture by choking and electric shock and the rape of a woman by police officers. In addition, prison cells are overcrowded, medical care is scarce, and hygienic conditions are poor. Numerous people are arbitrarily arrested, especially asylum seekers, who are often discriminated against by the police. Human Rights Watch criticizes the conviction of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and calls for an investigation into alleged abuse in prison.

    In the Ukraine conflict that began in 2014, Amnesty International accused both the armed separatists in eastern Ukraine and government soldiers of “serious human rights violations”. Activists, demonstrators and hostages who got 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 are to be expected in eastern Ukraine. Victims are often civilians. The extortion of ransom is also a motive of the separatist groups. The United Nations 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 war in Ukraine. These are the rights to freedom and security, to a fair trial and to the protection of family life.

    Due to the pending reforms to improve the rule of law, the IMF stopped aid loans in 2017. Thanks to the opening of the market, the earlier notorious corruption in gas trading has been dried up. The abuse of banks by oligarchs had been restricted by the central bank, which had closed half of all banks, which, according to Ivan Mikloš, the not yet privatized state-owned companies represented the greatest source of corruption. A new tax refund system reduced the opportunities for civil servants to become corrupt. The state also loses billions of dollars a year in revenue through fraud at customs.


    GDP growth
    dynamics according to PPP .
    GDP per capita (PPP based) in US dollars
    GDP growth rates since 1990 - with the major 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 in 2008, 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 export goods 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 concluded a free trade agreement with Russia , which Russia repealed 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). In 2018, the country ranks 150th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

    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 is estimated at 18 million for 2017.

    Standard of living

    1 million coupon Karbowanez corresponded to DM 9.72 in 1995

    There are great social differences in Ukraine and a large proportion of the 45.4 million Ukrainians live in poor material circumstances or in poverty. The capital of Ukraine, Kiev, has the lowest hourly wage with an hourly wage of 2.20 euros and, at 17.6%, by far the lowest purchasing power of all European capitals (as of 2012). Within the country, the wage tends to be higher the more east the region is - with the top in Donetsk Oblast and bottom in Ternopil Oblast in the west.

    Many rural residents practice subsistence farming because wages and pensions were paid late and incompletely and wages could not keep up with the increased cost of living. In 1992 a transitional currency ( coupon Karbowanez / купоно-карбованець ) was introduced, which suffered from hyperinflation due to the economic crisis during this period . The mean annual rate in 1992 was 135 coupons for 1  mark , in 1995 there were 102,886 coupons for 1 DM. In 1996 the Karbowanez was replaced by the hryvnia .

    Economic development

    After Ukraine separated 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 macroeconomic transformation . In addition, the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster continue to put a heavy burden on the country. In 2007, Ukraine was unable to return to 1991 production levels. 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. At the end of the 1990s, however, the economy stabilized. From the year 2000 the country was characterized by a strong economic upswing. The annual growth of the Ukrainian GDP has averaged about 7% since then. In 2007 it was 7.3%.

    The change in power at the end of 2004, which not only affected the president, but also created a new majority in parliament, gave reason to expect far-reaching reforms. Foreign investors are increasingly buying or leasing agricultural land. However, land sales are to 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 been assigned to multinational companies since 2002. Of this, more than 405,000 hectares went to a company based in Luxembourg, another 444,800 to an investor registered in Cyprus, 120,000 hectares to a French company and 250,000 hectares to a Russian company. The raw materials multi Cargill, also a supplier of agrochemicals, has invested in grain silos, port terminals, sunflower oil and feed factories and has also acquired shares in UkrLandFarming, the largest agricultural company in the country.

    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 in the previous year. The banking sector was destabilized, the national currency, the hryvnia, depreciated significantly, 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 conditional loan of US $ 16.4 billion from the IMF to avert national bankruptcy, which was to be disbursed in three tranches. Since the government of Ukraine did not want to meet the requirements, the IMF decided not to pay out the third tranche. As announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the gross domestic product fell by a total of around 15% in 2009. After modest growth, the Euromaidan revolution, the subsequent Russian invasion of Crimea and the east of the country and the civil war in this region caused a renewed economic crisis. The Ukrainian economy has stabilized since 2015: Production, wages and investments have all increased in recent years. In August 2016, the Ukrainian economy reached 2013 status.

    Ukraine's raw material base 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 shelf of the Black Sea . The share of heavy industry in the economy as a whole more than doubled even that of Poland, which is also heavily industrialized. 70% of industrial production took place in 1991 in the mechanical engineering, black metallurgy (iron and steel), energy, chemicals, paper and building materials sectors.

    Key figures

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

    year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    Change in% 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 thousands of USD)
    year 2014 2015 2016 year 2014 2015 2016
    GDP in billions of euros 133.5 91.0 93.3 GDP per inhabitant (in € thousand) 3.1 2.1 2.2

    Foreign Trade Development (GTAI)

    in billion US dollars and its year-on-year change as a percentage
    2014 2015 2016
    Billion $ % yoy Billion $ % yoy Billion $ % year-on-year
    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 partner of Ukraine (2016), source: GTAI

    Export (in percent) to Import (in percent) of
    RussiaRussia Russia 9.9 RussiaRussia Russia 13.1
    EgyptEgypt Egypt 6.2 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 11.9
    PolandPoland Poland 6.1 GermanyGermany Germany 11.0
    TurkeyTurkey Turkey 5.6 BelarusBelarus Belarus 7.1
    ItalyItaly Italy 5.3 PolandPoland Poland 6.9
    IndiaIndia India 5.2 United StatesUnited States United States 4.3
    China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 5.0 FranceFrance France 3.9
    United NationsU.N. other states 52.8 United NationsU.N. other states 41.8

    Economic development of Ukraine

    Real change compared to the previous year in% (without taking into account the areas annexed by Russia and the secession 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

    Ukraine was at times one of the countries with the highest energy consumption in Europe. Primary energy consumption rose from 138 million tons of oil equivalent in 1970 to 1990, which is higher than in France and Great 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 (for more details see the list of nuclear reactors in Ukraine ) and 5% from hydropower. In 2011, 15 nuclear reactors with a total gross output of around 14 gigawatts (GW) were in operation, four were decommissioned, two with 1000 MW each (= 1 GW) were under construction. The electrical power generation from the nuclear facilities amounted to 83.8 billion kWh in 2010.

    The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is located on the Dnieper (50 kilometers from the city of Zaporizhia) ; it has six nuclear reactors with a net output of 950 MW each, 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.


    Every year Ukraine produces around 60 million tons of grain, mainly maize, wheat and barley, of which over 50% is exported. In 2012 it was the seventh largest grain producer worldwide. 2019 saw a new record harvest of grain with around 75 million tons.

    Agriculture has suffered from severe soil erosion for several decades. Due to the associated 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 were cut down and converted into arable land. The birch forests around Kiev and the forests in Volhynia are known. On the northern border with Belarus allowed in a radius of 30 kilometers around the city of Pripyat no agriculture since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster because of the continuing radioactive contamination are operated.

    In the south of Ukraine on the coast and in the Crimea , wine and fruit are grown. The rest of the country mainly grows wheat , potatoes and sugar beets . At the time of independence from the Soviet Union, 55% of the Ukrainian territory was used for arable farming and a total of 70% of the area was used for agriculture. The agro-industrial complex generated around 40% of the 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 (especially 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, only 70% of German grain production. 40% of the agricultural area is cultivated by small but stable subsistence farms under one hectare, 50% by kolkhoz successors on a lease basis (with an average of 1,200 hectares), the remaining 10% by small farms with an average of five hectares and by 43,000 medium-sized farmers (80 to 500 hectares ).

    Land grabbing

    With 56% of its land area, Ukraine has the world's highest proportion of top quality arable land, which is covered with a thick layer of very fertile black earth ( Chernosem ). As long as land prices are very low by international standards, the land is very prone to land grabbing . In 2012 the lease price per hectare was 350 hryvnia (approx. 30 euros). In November 2008, The Guardian reported that Libya had acquired 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, the China Exim Bank granted a loan of USD 3 billion and received up to 6 million tons of grain annually for the next 15 years. In 2013, the Chinese state-owned company Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps began negotiations with the Ukrainian agricultural company KSG Agro for 100,000 hectares in the Black Sea region. For the Chinese market, crops are to be grown and pigs are to be raised. The People's Republic of China intends to take over up to three million hectares for further leases for 50 years . In 2020, Parliament decided to open the land market in a controversial land reform . According to this, the agricultural land should be exposed to the market from July 1, 2021. The International Monetary Fund made the reform a prerequisite for new loans to Ukraine.


    Industrial robot Fanuc R-2000iB for welding the bodies of the ZAZ Chance , Zaporisky Awtomobilebudiwny Zavod

    At Krywyj Rih ( Krywbass ), Dnipro and Zaporizhia there are iron ore deposits with appropriate processing. There are also mechanical engineering, rail vehicle - and automotive industry aviation and aerospace industry , defense industry , food industry , construction of electrical appliances and an extensive shipbuilding industry . The main exports are coal , steel , electrical appliances, machines, vehicles and foodstuffs, and mainly energy sources ( gas and oil ) from Russia are imported. In the Donetsk Basin there are many in need of rehabilitation mines, where there was already serious mining accidents.

    The largest vehicle plants are KrAZ in Kremenchuk , LuAZ in Lutsk and Zaporisky Avtomobilebudiwny Zavod (SAS) in Zaporozhye .


    The tertiary sector in Ukraine has developed very dynamically 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 great growth rates. Its 2014 revenue was around $ 5 billion. Managers and former managers of the IT industry have been strongly represented in parliament and in leading positions in the governing coalition since 2014.


    The building of the
    Central Bank of Ukraine, founded in 1991
    Dnipro is considered the country's financial center.
    10 hryvnia with a portrait of Ivan Masepa

    In banking, the first takeover by a foreign credit institution did not take place until October 2005, but banks with foreign capital were established even before that. At that time, the Austrian Raiffeisen International took over the country's second largest bank, “Bank Aval” (now Raiffeisen Aval ). The sales negotiations were deliberately drawn out on the Ukrainian side, as more interested parties quickly found themselves in the bank, and the purchase price thus increased bit by bit to 836 million euros (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 a great deal of interest from numerous foreign banks that also wanted to gain a foothold in Ukraine. Within just five months, the share of foreign banks in the Ukrainian banking sector soared from just over 12% to around 25% and in August 2007 was 31.7%. From 2010 the development went in the opposite direction again.

    Another of the five major Ukrainian banks, Ukrsibbank , was taken over in December 2005 by the largest French bank, BNP Paribas . 51% changed hands for almost 300 million euros. In September 2007 Commerzbank took over a 60% stake in Bank Forum for 600 million euros.

    Several of the smaller of the 158 Ukrainian banks (as of the end of 2005) have already been taken over. For example, the Russian market leader, the state-owned Sberbank , took over the Ukrainian NRB-Ukraina (but has not yet received permission from the banking supervisory authority), 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 takeover of the Russian state banks, as was already seen in January 2006 in the sudden increase in the price of gas on the Russian side.

    Central bank functions are exercised 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. The 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 the Ukrainian economy. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that without the treaty with Russia there is a risk of national bankruptcy and the collapse of society. According to the BBC, Ukraine would need $ 17 billion in external financing for 2014 to continue servicing its debts.

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

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


    Reporters Without Borders criticizes that much of the media is in the hands of oligarchs or politically influential people. In addition, according to Reporters Without Borders, freedom of the press is no longer given in the separatist-occupied zones of eastern Ukraine and in the Russian-occupied Crimea.

    In its 2017 report, the international non-governmental organization Freedom House expressed great concern about the security situation of journalists in Ukraine. Media representatives were exposed to violence, intimidation and harassment both in the Ukrainian heartland and in the areas in the east of the country controlled by Russian separatists. 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, journalist Oles Busyna , who was critical of the government , had been murdered in Kiev.

    The OSCE expressed concerns about the freedom of the press regarding the revocation of admission in the case of Sawik Schusters in 2016 and in April 2017 because of the expulsions 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.

    In 2016, the Slavist and journalist Herwig G. Höller emphasized that there was also media criticism in Ukraine , in contrast to Russia.

    News and press agencies

    The state news agency is UKRINFORM , which was founded in 1918 and sends around 300 reports a day. General manager since 2011 Oleksandr Detsyk (* 1979). Other influential companies are the non-governmental Russian news agency Interfax -Ukraine and the private Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN) , controlled by the oligarch Ihor Kolomojskyj . In total there are around 35 news agencies active in Ukraine, but most of them are very small and take over information from the leading news agencies. The Ukrainian Crisis Media Center (UCMC) , located on Majdan Nesaleschnosti in the Hotel Ukrajina , has played an important role since March 2014 . It is funded by George Soros ( Open Society Foundations ), the US public relations company Weber Shandwick and the Ukrainian government. It distributes news reports and images on the crisis.

    TV channel

    In the case of television , which was introduced in Ukraine in 1951, there have been private television providers since 1993 in addition to state television.

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

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

    The chairman of the Ukrainian Union of Journalists, Nikolaj Tomilenko, spoke of an "information bomb" and said: "The withdrawal of access to Ukrainian media for an audience of millions 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 broadcaster of Ukraine with the associated international service Radio Ukraine International - the largest radio network, most popular talk radio in Ukraine. There are also other private radio stations.

    Information technologies

    Ukraine is in recent years in connection with the " IT - outsourcing " became known. 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 geographical and cultural proximity to Western Europe and competes with established IT service providers such as India and China. However, the sales generated in this area cannot yet be compared with the Indian one.

    The largest software producers and IT service companies include Luxoft , headquartered in Switzerland, and Ciklum, which mainly offer 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 2016, 44.1% of the population used the internet.

    Trade fairs and exhibitions


    An important tourist destination in Ukraine is the capital Kiev, which offers not only many historical sights but also a modern, vibrant cultural life. The Black Sea coast has been used as a recreational area since the tsarist times, above all 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. Until 2014, the Crimea hosted the annual KaZantip electronic dance music festival .

    In the west of Ukraine, the city of Lviv with its UNESCO World Heritage city ​​center is well worth seeing. In the bordering Ukrainian Carpathians there are not only impressive nature but also traditional thermal health resorts such as Truskavets or ski areas such as Slavske .

    Excursions to the contaminated area of Chornobyl north of Kiev have recently established themselves as a kind of extreme tourism .


    From the times of the Soviet Union , Ukraine has primarily had a north-south traffic orientation ( Moscow - Kiev - Odessa , Moscow - Kharkiv - Crimea ). Since the country's independence, however, 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 - Krakow - Lviv - Kiev and V: Košice - Chop - Lviv and Budapest - Chop - Lviv). Today Ukraine 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 railroad , followed by road transport and inland waterway transport on the Dnieper River . Since the outbreak of fighting in eastern Ukraine and after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, traffic within the regions concerned, as well as 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 the 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 Ukraine, the common in Russia is from the railway gauge of 1520 mm is used. The construction of high-speed lines with a gauge of 1435 mm is planned. The lines in the Kiev, Lviv and eastern Ukraine areas are electrified, with non-electrified sections in between. Complete electrification is planned. The state railway manufacturer is the Luhansk Locomotive Factory . The national railway company Ukrzalisnyzja was founded in 1991 and is also in state hands. In 2009, the government came up with the first proposals for privatization. In the course of the annexation of Crimea by Russia and in the course of the fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, there were severe restrictions on rail traffic in the regions concerned.


    Course of the medieval Via Regia and Via Imperii in Europe

    The entire road network covered around 169,694 km in 2012, of which 166,095 km are paved. A coherent motorway network does not yet exist, but in many places there are motorway-like trunk roads and national roads . The M 06 from Hungary to Kiev has been renovated in recent years and is now in very good condition throughout from the Hungarian border via the Carpathian Mountains to Lviv . The petrol station network is very dense. In some villages the roads are still very poorly developed, but are gradually being rehabilitated. Many large cities have trams and subways, such as the Kiev metro , and a very dense network of bus connections throughout the country.

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

    air traffic

    The Antonov An-225, the largest aircraft in the world

    There are international airports in all major cities. 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 airports in Ukraine. The aircraft manufacturer Antonow , headquartered in Kiev, currently has the largest worldwide with the Antonow An-225 with a total cargo space of 1220 m³ and a load of 250 t (which enables the transport of 4 articulated lorries and a truck behind it and its trailer next to it, all loaded) Transport aircraft in use. A total of two aircraft of this type were built, only one of which was completed.


    The most important inland waterway is the Dnepr, which can also be used by small seagoing vessels as far as Kiev; There are sea ​​ports in Chornomorsk , Mykolaiv and Cherson , the largest being the port of Odessa . Since the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine has no longer had access to the seaports in Sevastopol and Kerch . The headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy was in Sevastopol on the Black Sea until the Crimean crisis , and has been in Odessa since then. There are ferry connections from Chornomorsk to Poti in Georgia, to Constanța in Romania and to Derince in Turkey.


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

    • Kyivstar / Djuice / Mobilitsch (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 started the first UMTS cellular network in Ukraine in November 2007 , which has operated as 3Mob since 2011. Ukrtelecom, which was privatized in 2011, is majority owned by the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov's holding company 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 summer 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 the strong dependence of Ukraine on Russian gas, a technical upgrade was initiated in 2014, which should enable the Ukraine to be supplied with gas from Western and Central Europe.


    The canals in Ukraine are mainly used for irrigation and not as a shipping canal . The most important canal is the North Crimean Canal , an irrigation canal over 400 km long, which from the 1970s to 2014 conducted the dammed water of the Dnieper into the arid regions of southern Ukraine and the Crimea, making 85% of the total Water consumption of the local population covered.

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


    The third longest river in Europe, the Dnepr, flows through the center of Ukraine and divides the country into the right-bank and left-bank Ukraine . In order to connect the rail and road traffic on both banks with each other, numerous bridges have been built, especially in the cities on the river. In addition, the dams that dam the Dnepr serve as river crossings for road traffic.

    The Crimean peninsula was connected to Russian territory by the Crimean Bridge over the Kerch Strait .


    public holidays

    In Ukraine, Independence Day is celebrated on August 24th 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 Defender of Ukraine Day День захисника України


    Folk art

    Ukrainian postage stamps with motifs by Tetjana Pata , a representative of Petrykivka painting

    The folk art has a high priority in Ukraine. Well-known Ukrainian folk artists include Marija Prymachenko , Kateryna Bilokur and Ivan Honchar . Petrykivka painting , an original style of decorative painting, achieved world fame and was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013 .


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

    The first book published in Ukraine was written by Yuri Drohobych in 1483. In the city of Poltava living Ivan Kotliarevsky an innovator in the Ukrainian literary language. Ivan Franko , Lessja Ukrajinka and Taras Shevchenko , after whom the most important cultural prize in Ukraine, the Taras Shevchenko Prize, has been named since 1962, are among the most important writers .

    Ivan Kotlyarevsky
    Taras Shevchenko
    Ivan Franko
    Mychajlo Kozjubynskyj
    Lessja Ukrajinka
    Kotlyarevsky.jpg Taras Shevchenko selfportrait 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 Dowschenko .


    A mural in the Sophia Cathedral of Kiev from the 11th century provides insight into the medieval music-making in the area of present-day Ukraine. It shows skomorochi and musicians playing flutes, trumpets or shawms, lutes, psalteries ( gusli ) and cymbals ( cymbaly ). It is unclear whether the institution of the Skomorochi, who performed as dancers, jugglers and theater actors, came from the Byzantine Empire, from the West, or whether it was of local origin. Ukrainian folk music is influenced by Slavic and non-Slavic peoples in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, depending on the geographic location of the country.

    Mykola Leontowytsch (1877–1921)

    In the past, the villages had their own regional folk music styles and performance practices, which were also differentiated according to gender. The ritual singing traditions were performed predominantly by women and girls, the instrumental music predominantly by men and boys. The entertainment songs were sung equally by the entire population at all times.

    To any current traditional folk musical instruments, the sounds are bandura and Kobsa (names related to the Romanian cobză ), the violin , the hurdy-gurdy lira , a dreisaitiger, coated Bass Basol (i) a (the size of a viola da gamba ), the dulcimer cymbaly that loud Torban , a group of nuclear fission flutes sopilka , on Huzuls the long wooden trumpet trembita , an accordion , the bagpipe koza (similar to the Polish koza ), the frame drum bubon and the jaw drum drymba . A typical ensemble known as the troista muzyka (from "three musicians") consists of a violin, dulcimer and bass or frame drum. When the musicians accompany folk dances like the huzulka , the pieces contain improvised parts.

    After 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 . In the second participation in the year after, 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 the Ukrainian capital Kiev in 2005 . Ukraine 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 Association of Ukraine (FFU). The first football league in Ukraine is the Premjer-Liha . Well-known clubs are Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk . The greatest success of the young Ukrainian national soccer team so far was reaching the quarter-finals at the 2006 soccer World Cup in Germany.

    Oleh Blochin and Ihor Bjelanow were awarded the Ballon d'Or as “ European Footballer of the Year ” during the Soviet era . Blochin, who ended his active career in Austria with Vorwärts Steyr , was the coach of the Ukrainian national team until January 2008. Ukraine was on 18 April 2007 win a sports policy success by the country that own the European Football Association until 1992 UEFA belongs, in the first round was selected to the UEFA Executive Committee, together with Poland , the 2012 European Football Championship align . The most popular football players from Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko , the one with the AC Milan including the Champions League and Italian champion was, and in 2004 the Ballon d'Or as "European Footballer of the Year" won.


    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). Andrij Kotelnik (2000, lightweight) and Serhij Dotsenko (2000, welterweight) won silver medals. In addition, Ukrainian boxers won five bronze medals, including Vladimir Sidorenko (2000, flyweight) and Vyacheslav Hlaskow (2008, super heavyweight). In the professional field, five athletes have so far won world titles: 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.


    Serhiy Bubka from Luhansk is a six-time world champion and Olympic champion in pole vault . He set a total of 35 world records and made 43 jumps over the six-meter mark. Since 2005 he has been chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine .


    Ruslan Ponomarjow became FIDE world champion in 2002 , Anna Uschenina in 2012, and Marija Musytschuk in 2015 world chess champions . The national team became team world champions in 2001 and won the 2004 Chess Olympiad and the 2010 Chess Olympiad . The Ukrainian women's selection won the 2006 Chess Olympiad .


    The cities of Lviv and Rivne are internationally known in the speedway ; both of them have hosted several World Championship races.

    See also

    Portal: Ukraine  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Ukraine


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    Coordinates: 50 °  N , 31 °  E