October 28, 2021

Ukraine (Ukrainian: païнa, Russian: paинa) is a country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the east and northeast; Belarus in the northwest; Poland and Slovakia in the west; Hungary, Romania and Moldova in the southwest; the Black Sea in the south; and the Sea of ​​Azov in the southeast. Ukraine and Russia are currently fighting over the Crimean Peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014, though Ukraine and much of the international community recognize it as part of Ukraine. Along with Crimea, Ukraine has an area of ​​603,628 km², which makes it the largest country in Europe and the 46th largest in the world. With a population of 44.5 million, Ukraine is the 32nd most populous country in the world. The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. In the Middle Ages, the region was an important center for East Slavic culture, with the powerful Kievan Rus state forming the foundation of Ukrainian national identity. After its division in the 13th century, this region was contested, controlled, and divided by several powers, such as Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. A kazaki republic emerged and prospered in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was divided between Poland and the Russian Empire, which was then wholly owned by Russia. Two brief periods of independence occurred in the 20th century, the first towards the end of World War I and the second during World War II, but these two periods led to the subjugation and unification of the Ukrainian territories into a Soviet republic, a situation which in effect until 1991, when Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, immediately after its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. After independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral country, but still maintained limited military partnerships with the Russian Federation, other CIS countries and partnerships with NATO since 1994. In the 2000s, the government began to lean towards NATO, and deepened cooperation with alliance that has been drawn up by the NATO-Ukraine Work Plan signed in 2002. It was then agreed that the intention to join NATO should be preceded by a national opinion poll in the future. Former President Viktor Yanukovych views the current level of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO as sufficient, without the need to be a member of NATO. In 2013, protests against the government of President Yanukovych broke out in downtown Kiev after the government made a decision to terminate the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and establish closer economic ties with Russia. The decision sparked a months-long wave of demonstrations and protests called the Euromaidan, which culminated in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to Yanukovych's overthrow and the formation of a new government. These events led to Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and the War in the Donbass in the same month; both are ongoing until May 2016. On January 1, 2016, Ukraine joined the Comprehensive and Deep Free Trade Area with the European Union. Ukraine has long been the center of the world's food reserves due to its vast and fertile agricultural land, and Ukraine is still one one of the largest exporters of grain in the world. The Ukrainian economy is diverse, including a large sector of heavy industry, particularly in the fields of aviation and industrial equipment. Ukraine is a unitary state in the form of a republic that adheres to a semi-presidential system with a trias politica: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. The center of the country and its largest city is Kiev. Ukraine maintains the second largest military in Europe, after Russia, if reservists and paramilitaries are taken into account. The country is home to 45.4 million people (including Crimeans), 77.8% of whom are Ukrainians and

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