July 5, 2022
Ukraine ([ukʁaˈiːnə] or [uˈkʁaɪ̯nə]; Ukrainian Україна Ukrajina [ukrɑˈjinɑ]) is a country in Eastern Europe with more than 40 million inhabitants. With an area of 603,700 square kilometers, it is the second largest country in Europe after Russia and the largest whose territory is entirely within the continent. The country borders on Russia to the east and north-east, Belarus to the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, and Romania and Moldova to the south-west. In the south, Ukraine borders on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The capital and largest metropolis of the country is Kyiv, other metropolitan areas are Kharkiv, Dnipro, Donetsk and Odessa. Like its neighbors Russia and Belarus, Ukraine traces its state tradition back to the medieval Kiev Empire. Since its fall in the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, the territory of the Ukraine has belonged in whole or in part to the dominions of the Golden Horde, Poland-Lithuania, the Russian Tsarist Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy. The Ukrainian People's Republic, founded after the October Revolution in 1917 during the Russian civil war, was the first attempt to constitute the Ukraine as a community and to achieve state independence, but by no means controlled all of the territory of what later became Ukraine. From the end of January/beginning of February 1918, Kyiv was in the hands of the Red Army. Almost a year later, in January 1919, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed, territorially consisting of the southwestern Tsarist Krai (west of the Dnepr) and Little Russia with the governorates of Kharkov/Charkiv, Poltava and Chernigov/Chernihiv. When the Soviet Union was constituted in 1922, she was one of the founding members. When the UN was founded, at Stalin's instigation, the Soviet republics of Belarus and Ukraine also became members. Only in 1954 did Nikita Khrushchev subordinate Crimea, which had previously belonged to the RSFSR, to Ukraine. And only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 did Ukraine become sovereign again, for the first time with international recognition. In exchange for Ukraine's relinquishment of Soviet nuclear weapons stationed on its territory, Russia, the United States and Britain guaranteed the country's autonomy and existing borders in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. In February 2014, as a result of the annexation of Crimea by Russia, a conflict between the two countries erupted to this day. Since then, Crimea and parts of the Donbas have been under Russian control. The border conflict, which had been smoldering for years, escalated in February 2022 into the Russo-Ukrainian War. On February 21, 2022, Russia recognized the “People’s Republics” of Lugansk and Donetsk, which had been proclaimed by pro-Russian separatists, as independent states independent of Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, the armed forces of the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. They invaded from both Russia and Belarus, the Black Sea and the previously occupied territories. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi declared a state of war and martial law. Since February 25, 2022, the capital Kyiv has been under attack. According to UNHCR estimates, as of June 1, 2022, 4.7 million people from Ukraine were registered as refugees in Europe.