|a republic in SE Europe, on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov: ruled by the Khazars (7th--9th centuries), by Ruik princes with the Mongol conquest in the 13th century, then by Lithuania, by Poland, and by Russia; one of the four original republics that formed the Soviet Union in 1922; unilaterally declared independence in 1990, which was recognized in 1991. Consists chiefly of lowlands; economy based on rich agriculture and mineral resources and on the major heavy industries of the Donets Basin. Official language: Ukrainian; Russian is also widely spoken. Religion: believers are mainly Christian. Currency: hryvna. Capital: Kiev. Pop: 48 151 000 (2004 est). Area: 603 700 sq km (231 990 sq miles)|
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.