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from Russian Ukraina, literally "border, frontier," from u- "at" + krai "edge."
Republic in southeastern Europe, bordered by Belarus to the north; Russia to the northeast and east; the Black Sea to the south; Moldova, Romania, and Hungary to the southwest; and Slovakia and Poland to the west; includes the peninsula of Crimea. Kiev is the capital and largest city.
Note: Of the former Soviet republics, it is second to Russia in population.
Note: Ukraine came under a succession of invaders and foreign rulers, including central Asian tribes, the Mongols, Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, Poland, and finally Russia. Under oppressive Polish and Russian rule in the seventeenth century, Ukrainian fugitives, known as Cossacks, organized resistance movements.
Note: A nationalist and cultural revival in the nineteenth century was rewarded after World War I by independence, which was, however, short-lived. Invaded by Russian troops, Ukraine became one of the original Soviet republics in 1922.
Note: Ukraine was traditionally home to a large Jewish population. Many Jews left Ukraine under oppressive conditions in the nineteenth century, and thousands more were exterminated by the Nazis in World War II.