Ukraine on the world map. Map of Ukraine
Map of Ukraine with cities. Where Ukraine is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Ukraine - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Fact File Ukraine
Official name Ukraine
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (Supreme Council)
Area 603,700 sq km (233,089 sq miles)
Time zone CMT + 2 hours
Projected population 2015 43,335,000
Population density 80.2 per sq km (207.6 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 66.3
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 21.1
Official language Ukrainian
Other languages Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish
Literacy rate 98 %
Religions Predominantly Christian (Ukrainian Orthodox, Ukrainian Autocephalus Orthodox, Roman Catholic); small Protestant, Jewish and Muslim minorities
Ethnic groups Ukrainian 73%, Russian 22%, other 5 %
Economy Services 46%, industry 33%, agriculture 21 %
GNP per capita US$4,200
Climate Temperate, with cold winters and mild summers; warmer on Black Sea coast
Highest point Hora Hoverla 2,061 m (6,762 ft)
Map reference Pages 289, 298
Ukraine, formerly part of the USSR, has a southern coastline on the Black Sea and on the almost landlocked Sea of Azov. Surrounding it are seven other countries. From southeast across its northern border to southwest, they are the Russian Federation, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. The Ukrainian capital, Kiev, has existed since the ninth century ad, when a Viking tribe established a center there.
A century later it was a powerful force in Eastern Europe. It was overrun by Mongols in the thirteenth century and then came under Polish control. In the seventeenth century the eastern part of Ukraine fell to the Russians, who eventually absorbed the whole of the country into their empire. Despite attempts to establish a separate state after the 1917 Revolution, invading Soviet armies subdued Ukraine in 1920. During the 1930s more than 3 million Ukrainians perished in a famine and another 6 million died in the Nazi occupation during the Second World War. After the war, part of western Ukraine that was under Polish occupation was returned, as was the Crimea, and Ukraine assumed its present boundaries under Soviet domination. Ukraine declared its independence in 1991 as the Soviet Union began to break up, although it still retains close ties with Russia. It is now a democratic republic, with a directly elected president as head of state.
Formerly referred to as "the granary of the Soviet Union", most of Ukraine consists of fertile black-soil plains that produce an abundance of wheat and other cereal grains as well as vegetables, fruits, and fodder crops. Much of the country's agricultural output remains affected by the widespread contamination caused by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, near the Belarus border, in 1986.
There are mountainous areas in the southwest, where the Carpathian Mountains sweep down from Poland, and in the Crimean Peninsula in the far south. The Dnieper River flows through the heart of the country and empties into the Black Sea. In its northern plain there are large stretches of marshland and many forest-rimmed lakes. In the south, bordering the Black Sea, much of the landscape is a semiarid, treeless plain.
Coal is Ukraine's most abundant and heavily exploited mineral resource. There are also significant reserves of natural gas, uranium, and oil, though the latter remains largely unexploited. Steel production, machine building, engineering, and chemical processing are the main industries. These industries are centered around the large cities and coalfields in the east of the country. In the post-Soviet era, the Ukrainian economy has suffered periods of extremely high inflation and growth has been hampered by a largely conservative legislature that has resisted many attempts at reform. There is widespread poverty, exacerbated by a declining healthcare system.