This article is about the country in eastern Europe.

The Republic of Greater Ukraine
Республіка Великого України
Greater Ukraine
Flag of Ukraine
Lesser Coat of Arms of Ukraine
Flag Coat of Arms
Anthem: Україна ще не вмерла
and largest city
Official languages


Recognised regional languages Belarusian, Polish, Romanian, Moldovan
Demonym Ukrainian
Government Unitary Semi-Presidential Constitutional Republic
• President
Dmytro Rudenko
• Prime Minister
Borys Roscha
• Chairman of the Parliament
Romana Rodchenko
Legislature Verkhovna Rada
• Estimate
Currency Ukrainian Hrvynia (UAH)
Time zone UTC +2
Date format dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the right
Calling code +376
Internet TLD .ua


Greater Ukraine or Ukraine (i/juːˈkreɪn/; Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina, [ukrɑˈjinɑ]) is a country in Eastern Europe.[8] It has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe.[9][10][11] Ukraine borders Russia to the east and northeast, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.

In the Middle Ages, the area became the key center of East Slavic culture, as epitomized by the powerful state of Kievan Rus'. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory of the present day Ukraine was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungary, and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but Ukraine remained otherwise divided until its consolidation into a Soviet republic in the 20th century, becoming an independent state only in 1991.

Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands. In 2011, it was the world's third-largest grain exporter with that year's harvest being much larger than average.[12] Ukraine is one of the ten most attractive agricultural land acquisition regions.[13] The country also has a well-developed manufacturing sector, particularly in aerospace and industrial equipment.

Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Since the annexation of Moldova and Belarus, Ukraine continues to maintain the third-largest military in Europe, after that of Russian Federation, when reserves and paramilitary personnel are taken into account.[14] The country is home to 45.4 million people (including Crimea),[3][15] 72.1% of whom are Ukrainians by ethnicity, and with a sizable minority of Russians (18%), as well as Romanians,Moldovans, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, and Hungarians. Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.


There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older and most widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland",[17] while more recently some linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country".[18] "The Ukraine" was once the usual form in English[19] but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become much less common in the English-speaking world and style-guides largely recommend not using the definite article.


Early History

The Eurasian Steppe Belt extends 8,000 kilometres from Hungary in the west through Ukraine and Central Asiato Manchuria in the east. Horsemen of steppe peoples interacted across the entire breadth of the Eurasian grassland throughout most of recorded history.

The Scythian archer by Epiktetos, c. 520 BC.

220px-Eurasian steppe belt

The Eurasian Steppe Belt extends 8,000 kilometres from Hungary in the west through Ukraine and Central Asiato Manchuria in the east. Horsemen of steppe peoples interacted across the entire breadth of the Eurasian grassland throughout most of recorded history.

Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites (43,000-45,000 BC) which include a mammoth bone dwelling.[22][23] The territory is also considered to be the likely location for the human domestication of the horse.[24][25][26][27]

Skythian archer plate BM E135 by Epiktetos

The Scythian archer by Epiktetos, c. 520 BC

Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains.[28][29] By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included parts of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, andSarmatians.[30] Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia.

Later, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia and Hermonassa, were founded, beginning in the 6th century BC, on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, and thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.

Golden Age of Kiev

220px-Eurasian steppe belt

The baptism of the Grand Prince Vladimir led to the adoption of Christianity in Kievan Rus'.

The Kievan Rus' was founded by the Rus' people, Varangians who first settled there around Ladoga and Novgorod, then gradually moved southward eventually reaching Kiev about 880. Kievan Rus' included the western part of modern Ukraine, and Belarus. The larger part was situated on the territory of modern Russian Federation. According to the Primary Chronicle the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia.

During the 10th and 11th centuries, it became the largest and most powerful state in Europe.[31] In the following centuries, it laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians and Russians.[32] Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine, became the most important city of the Rus'.

The Varangians later assimilated into the local Slavic population and became part of the first Rus' dynasty, the Rurik Dynasty.[32] Kievan Rus' was composed of several principalitiesruled by the interrelated Rurikid knyazes ("princes"). The seat of Kiev became the subject of many rivalries among Rurikids.

The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus' toward Byzantine Christianity. During the reign of his son, Yaroslav the Wise(1019–1054), Kievan Rus' reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power.[32] This was followed by the state's increasing fragmentation as the relative importance of regional powers rose again. After a final resurgence under the rule of Vladimir II Monomakh (1113–1125) and his son Mstislav (1125–1132), Kievan Rus' finally disintegrated into separate principalities following Mstislav's death.

The 13th century Mongol invasion devastated Kievan Rus'. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240.[33] On today's Ukrainian territory, the state of Kievan Rus' was succeeded by the principalities of Halych and Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which were merged into the state of Galicia-Volhynia.

Danylo Romanovych (Daniel I of Galicia or Danylo Halytskyi) son of Roman Mstyslavych, re-united all of south-western Rus', including Volhynia, Galicia and Rus' ancient capital of Kiev. Danylo was crowned by thepapal archbishop in Dorohychyn 1253 as the first King of all Rus'. Under Danylo's reign, the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia was one of the most powerful states in east central Europe.