Neighbors include Russia, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland.
Ukraine's position has always made it a borderland between Asia and Western Europe, between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, and between Muslims and Christians.
Ukraine has become a borderland of sorts between NATO and Russia.
600,000 sq. km.(233,090 sq miles)
It is the largest state entirely within Europe
(Russia is larger, but most of Russia lies in Asia).
Population: 50 million (75% ethnic Ukrainians)
Ukrainians are a Slavic people.
Ukrainian differs from Russian.
However, almost all Ukrainians speak good Russian, because it was enforced during Soviet Union domination.
Government: democratic republic
President Leonid D. KUCHMA
Industry: machinery, engineering, metallurgy, electric power generation, coal mines
Agriculture: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables, beef and dairy
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National Ukrainian Insignia
National coat of arms emblazonment represents a synthesis of a preheraldic device of the ruling dynasty in the tenth century and of the oldest Ukrainian national heraldic tinctures from the 13th century.
National Anthem of Ukraine
" Shche ne vmerla Ukraina " words by Taras Shevchenko, music by Mykhailo Verbytskyi.
Horizontally 2 equal-striped flag.
The upper blue stripe signifies the open sky above the bottom yellow wheat fields of Ukraine.
Exchange rate: 1 USD = 5.4 UAH (Hryvna)
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Mild continental type.
Winter is rather mild, with no severe frosts.
The average winter temperature is 21º F , although lows can dip well below zero and highs as high as 40º F sometimes occur.
Summer is quite hot and dry, with occasional showers and thunderstorms.
The average summer temperature is 67º F , though sometimes it may be as hot as 100º F .
The fertile black soil is well watered in spring and autumn and gets plenty of sunshine in summer.
Due to favorable climatic conditions, Ukraine is traditionally an agricultural area.
Traditional Ukrainian costume
Cossacs for Independence
In the late 16th-early 17th centuries a very special social group of Ukrainain population usually referred to as COSSACKS appeared in Ukraine.
The Cossacks were mostly descendants of serfs who had run away from their masters and settled down at the unoccupied and unclaimed lands.
With the passage of time their numbers grew so significantly that they formed what amounted to an independent state with self-government bodies and an elected head called Hetman.
The Cossacks were fiercely independent by nature and fought hard to preserve their free ways from the Tartars of Crimea, Ottoman Turks and Poles.
Constant fighting made excellent foot soldiers and cavalrymen out of them.
In the middle of the 17th century, headed by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, an astute statesman and daring general, the Cossacks fought a war of independence against Poland.
It was the time of growing national identity but Bohdan Kmelnytsky realized too well that he did not have enough forces to overpower all the enemies on all the fronts and he was forced to bring Ukraine under the protection of the Russian Czar.
Unfortunately, the insatiable appetites of the imperial Russia were such that Ukraine was gobbled up whole and by the end of the 18th century was turned into a backwater province.
Even the Ukrainian language came under danger of extinction, but thanks to the efforts of prominent Ukrainian literati with the national revival on their minds - among whom Taras Shevchenko stands as the most distinguished figure - the Ukreinian language and literature did nit die and continued their development despite the hard pressure aimed at their suppression.
Economy - overview:
Ukraine was the breadbasket of the Russian Empire and Europe.
Today over 80 percent of the country's land area is under cultivation.
It grows wheat, maize, buckwheat and other corn, red and green vegetables, all kinds of fruit, melons and berries.
Ukraine is one of the world's main centers of sugar production.
Ukraine was the chief mining and metallurgical base in the Russian Empire.
During Soviet times in Ukraine, heating, hydroelectric, and nuclear electric-generating stations were built, and other branches of industry were also developed.
The largest rocket factory in the world is located in Dnipropetrovsk.
Airplanes are produced by the company Antonov.
At the ship-building factories in Mykolaiv and Kerch all the most formidable ships of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet were built.
There are car, train car, and locomotive factories in Ukraine.
A factory in Kharkiv produces some of the best tanks in the world.
There are also many other factories.
Ukrainians are famous for their energetic songs and dances.
Deep Christian roots, freedom spirited cossack traditions and hospitality are vividly
expressed in folk art and crafts.