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Introduction Ukraine
Ukraine was the center of the first Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising agaist the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-1920), but was reconquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died. In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 million more deaths. Although independence was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, true freedom remains elusive as many of the former Soviet elite remain entrenched, stalling efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties.
Geography Ukraine
Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Poland and Russia
Geographic coordinates:
49 00 N, 32 00 E
Map references:
Asia, Europe
total: 603,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 603,700 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries:
total: 4,663 km
border countries: Belarus 891 km, Hungary 103 km, Moldova 939 km, Poland 526 km, Romania (south) 169 km, Romania (west) 362 km, Russia 1,576 km, Slovakia 97 km
2,782 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
temperate continental; Mediterranean only on the southern Crimean coast; precipitation disproportionately distributed, highest in west and north, lesser in east and southeast; winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland; summers are warm across the greater part of the country, hot in the south
most of Ukraine consists of fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus, mountains being found only in the west (the Carpathians), and in the Crimean Peninsula in the extreme south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Hora Hoverla 2,061 m
Natural resources:
iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 57.1%
permanent crops: 1.73%
other: 41.17% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
24,540 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution; deforestation; radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chornobyl' Nuclear Power Plant
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia; second-largest country in Europe
People Ukraine
48,396,470 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.8% (male 4,147,344; female 3,970,343)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 15,881,821; female 17,366,172)
65 years and over: 14.5% (male 2,341,885; female 4,688,905) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.72% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
9.59 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
16.4 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
21.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.33 years
female: 72.06 years (2002 est.)
male: 60.86 years
Total fertility rate:
1.32 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.96% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
240,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
4,000 (1999 est.)
noun: Ukrainian(s)
adjective: Ukrainian
Ethnic groups:
Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001)
Ukrainian Orthodox - Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox - Kiev Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholic (Uniate), Protestant, Jewish
Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 100%
female: 97% (1989 est.)
Government Ukraine
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ukraine
local long form: none
former: Ukrainian National Republic, Ukrainian State, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
local short form: Ukrayina
Government type:
Kiev (Kyyiv)
Administrative divisions:
24 oblasti (singular - oblast'), 1 autonomous republic* (avtomnaya respublika), and 2 municipalities (mista, singular - misto) with oblast status**; Cherkas'ka (Cherkasy), Chernihivs'ka (Chernihiv), Chernivets'ka (Chernivtsi), Dnipropetrovs'ka (Dnipropetrovs'k), Donets'ka (Donets'k), Ivano-Frankivs'ka (Ivano-Frankivs'k), Kharkivs'ka (Kharkiv), Khersons'ka (Kherson), Khmel'nyts'ka (Khmel'nyts'kyy), Kirovohrads'ka (Kirovohrad), Kyyiv**, Kyyivs'ka (Kiev), Luhans'ka (Luhans'k), L'vivs'ka (L'viv), Mykolayivs'ka (Mykolayiv), Odes'ka (Odesa), Poltavs'ka (Poltava), Avtonomna Respublika Krym* (Simferopol'), Rivnens'ka (Rivne), Sevastopol'**, Sums'ka (Sumy), Ternopil's'ka (Ternopil'), Vinnyts'ka (Vinnytsya), Volyns'ka (Luts'k), Zakarpats'ka (Uzhhorod), Zaporiz'ka (Zaporizhzhya), Zhytomyrs'ka (Zhytomyr); note - when using a place name with an adjectival ending 's'ka' or 'z'ka,' the word Oblast' should be added to the place name
note: oblasts have the administrative center name following in parentheses
24 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 August (1991)
adopted 28 June 1996
Legal system:
based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Leonid D. KUCHMA (since 19 July 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Viktor YANUKOVYCH (since 21 November 2002), First Deputy Prime Minister Oleh DUBYNA (since 29 May 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president and approved by the Supreme Council
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 31 October and 14 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and approved by the Supreme Council
election results: Leonid D. KUCHMA elected president; percent of vote - Leonid KUCHMA 57.7%, Petro SYMONENKO 38.8%
note: there is also a National Security and Defense Council or NSDC originally created in 1992 as the National Security Council, but significantly revamped and strengthened under President KUCHMA; the NSDC staff is tasked with developing national security policy on domestic and international matters and advising the president; a Presidential Administration that helps draft presidential edicts and provides policy support to the president; and a Council of Regions that serves as an advisory body created by President KUCHMA in September 1994 that includes chairmen of the Kyyiv (Kiev) and Sevastopol' municipalities and chairmen of the oblasti
Legislative branch:
unicameral Supreme Council or Verkhovna Rada (450 seats; under Ukraine's new election law, 225 of the Supreme Council's seats are allocated on a proportional basis to those parties that gain 4% or more of the national electoral vote; the other 225 members are elected by popular vote in single-mandate constituencies; all serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - Our Ukraine 24%, CPU 20%, United Ukraine 12%, United Social Democratic Party 6%, SPU 7%, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 7%, other 24%; seats by party - Our Ukraine 102, CPU 60, Regions of Ukraine 42, Working Ukraine-Industrialists and Entrepreneurs 41, United Social Democratic Party 39, Democratic Initiatives 22, SPU 20, People's Power 19, European Choice 18, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 18, Agrarian Party 17, People's Democratic Party 16, People's Choice 15, others 21
note: following the election, United Ukraine splintered into the Agrarian Party, European Choice, People's Choice, People's Democratic Party, Regions of Ukraine, and Working Ukraine-Industrialists and Entrepreneurs
elections: last held 31 March 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders:
Agrarian Party [Kateryna VASHCHUK]; Communist Party of Ukraine or CPU [Petro SYMONENKO]; Democratic Initiatives [Stepan HAVRYSH]; European Choice [Volodymyr Stasyuk]; Our Ukraine [Vikto YUSHCHENKO]; People's Choice [Mykola HAPOCHKA]; People's Democratic Party or PDP [Valeriy PUSTOVOYTENKO, chairman]; People's Power [Bohdan HUBSKYY]; Regions of Ukraine [Rayisa BOHATYRYOVA]; Socialist Party of Ukraine or SPU [Oleksandr MOROZ, chairman]; United Social Democratic Party [Leonid KRAVCHUK]; Working Ukraine-Industrialists and Entrepreneurs [Ihor SHAROV]; Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc [Yuliya Tymoshenko]
note: and numerous smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Konstantin Ivanovych HRYSHCHENKO
FAX: [1] (202) 333-0817
consulate(s) general: Chicago and New York
telephone: [1] (202) 333-0606
chancery: 3350 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos PASCUAL
embassy: 10 Yurii Kotsiubynskyi Street, Kiev 01901
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [380] (44) 490-4000
FAX: [380] (44) 244-7350
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of azure (top) and golden yellow represent grainfields under a blue sky
Economy Ukraine
Economy - overview:
After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union, producing about four times the output of the next-ranking republic. Its fertile black soil generated more than one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output, and its farms provided substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain, and vegetables to other republics. Likewise, its diversified heavy industry supplied the unique equipment (for example, large diameter pipes) and raw materials to industrial and mining sites (vertical drilling apparatus) in other regions of the former USSR. Ukraine depends on imports of energy, especially natural gas, to meet some 85% of its annual energy requirements. Shortly after independence in late 1991, the Ukrainian Government liberalized most prices and erected a legal framework for privatization, but widespread resistance to reform within the government and the legislature soon stalled reform efforts and led to some backtracking. Output by 1999 had fallen to less than 40% the 1991 level. Loose monetary policies pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels in late 1993. Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. Now in his second term, President KUCHMA has pledged to reduce the number of government agencies, streamline the regulatory process, create a legal environment to encourage entrepreneurs, and enact a comprehensive tax overhaul. Reforms in the more politically sensitive areas of structural reform and land privatization are still lagging. Outside institutions - particularly the IMF - have encouraged Ukraine to quicken the pace and scope of reforms and have threatened to withdraw financial support. GDP in 2000 showed strong export-based growth of 6% - the first growth since independence - and industrial production grew 12.9%. The economy continued to expand in 2001 as real GDP rose 9% and industrial output grew by over 14%. Growth was undergirded by strong domestic demand and growing consumer and investor confidence.
purchasing power parity - $205 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
9% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,200 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 40%
services: 47% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
29% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 23% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
30 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
12% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
22.8 million (yearend 1997)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 32%, agriculture 24%, services 44% (1996) (1996)
Unemployment rate:
3.6% officially registered; large number of unregistered or underemployed workers (November 2001)
revenues: $10.2 billion
expenditures: $11.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
coal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food processing (especially sugar)
Industrial production growth rate:
14.2% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
163.57 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 50%
hydro: 7%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 43%
Electricity - consumption:
151.72 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
400 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables; beef, milk
$17.3 billion (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
ferrous and nonferrous metals, fuel and petroleum products, machinery and transport equipment, food products
Exports - partners:
Russia 22.6%, Turkey 6.2%, Italy 5.1%, Germany (2001 est.)
$17.1 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
energy, machinery and parts, transportation equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Russia 36.9%, Turkmenistan 10.5%, Germany 8.7%, US (2001 est.)
Debt - external:
$11.8 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
$637.7 million (1995); IMF Extended Funds Facility $2.2 billion (1998) (1995)
hryvnia (UAH)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
hryvnia per US dollar - 5.3126 (January 2002), 5.3722 (2001), 5.4402 (2000), 4.1304 (1999), 2.4495 (1998), 1.8617 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Ukraine
Telephones - main lines in use:
9.45 million (April 1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
236,000 (1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: Ukraine's telecommunication development plan, running through 2005, emphasizes improving domestic trunk lines, international connections, and the mobile cellular system
domestic: at independence in December 1991, Ukraine inherited a telephone system that was antiquated, inefficient, and in disrepair; more than 3.5 million applications for telephones could not be satisfied; telephone density is now rising slowly and the domestic trunk system is being improved; the mobile cellular telephone system is expanding at a high rate
international: two new domestic trunk lines are a part of the fiber-optic Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) system and three Ukrainian links have been installed in the fiber-optic Trans-European Lines (TEL) project which connects 18 countries; additional international service is provided by the Italy-Turkey-Ukraine-Russia (ITUR) fiber-optic submarine cable and by earth stations in the Intelsat, Inmarsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 134, FM 289, shortwave 4 (1998)
45.05 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
at least 33 (plus 21 repeaters that relay broadcasts from Russia) (1997)
18.05 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
260 (2001)
Internet users:
750,000 (2001)
Transportation Ukraine
total: 22,510 km
broad gauge: 21,951 km 1.524-m gauge (8,927 km electrified)
standard gauge: 49 km 1.435-m gauge
note: these data do not include railroads dedicated to serving industry and not in common carrier service (2001)
narrow gauge: 510 km 0.750-m gauge
total: 273,700 km
paved: 236,400 km (including 1,770 km of expressways and a substantial amount of all-weather roads with gravel surfaces)
unpaved: 37,300 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)
4,499 km
note: 1,672 km are on the Pryp'yat' and Dniester (Dnister) (1990)
crude oil 4,000 km (1995); petroleum products 4,500 km (1995); natural gas 34,400 km (1998)
Ports and harbors:
Berdyans'k, Feodosiya, Illichivs'k, Izmayil, Kerch, Kherson, Kiev (Kyyiv), Kiliya, Mariupol', Mykolayiv, Odesa, Reni, Sevastopol', Yalta, Yuzhnyy
Merchant marine:
total: 138 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 669,303 GRT/707,857 DWT
ships by type: bulk 7, cargo 100, container 3, liquefied gas 2, passenger 11, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, railcar carrier 2
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Cyprus 1, Greece 1, Panama 1, Russia 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1 (2002 est.)
718 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 114
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 50
1,524 to 2,437 m: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 26 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 604
over 3,047 m: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 52
914 to 1,523 m: 45
under 914 m: 457 (2002)
Military Ukraine
Military branches:
Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Air Force, Air Defense Forces, Interior Troops, Border Troops
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 12,263,178 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 9,616,864 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 390,823 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$500 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.4% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Ukraine
Disputes - international:
Ukraine and Romania have yet to resolve claims over Ukrainian-administered Zmiyinyy (Snake) Island and delimitation of Black Sea maritime boundary, despite 1997 bilateral treaty to find a solution in two years and numerous talks; Russia and Ukraine have successfully delimited land boundary in 2001, but disagree on delimitation of maritime boundary in the Sea of Azov and Black Sea; Moldovan difficulties with break-away Transnistria region inhibit establishment of a joint customs regime with Ukraine to curtail smuggling, arms transfers, and other illegal activities
Illicit drugs:
limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; some synthetic drug production for export to the West; limited government eradication program; used as transshipment point for opiates and other illicit drugs from Africa, Latin America, and Turkey to Europe and Russia; drug-related money laundering a minor, but growing, problem; lax anti-money-laundering regime

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003