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November 2007



Ukraine is the largest country wholly in Europe, with 233,000 square miles and an estimated population of 46.9 million. It borders the Black Sea, Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Russia. Its capitol city, Kyiv (Kiev), has a population of 2.8 million; other major cities include: Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Dontesk, Odesa, and Lviv.

Most of Ukraine consists of fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus, the Carpathian Mountains are in the West, and the Crimean Peninsula, in the South, juts into the Black Sea. The ethnic population of Ukraine generally divides into these groups: Ukrainians (77.8%), Russians(17.3%), and the rest Belarusians, Moldovans, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Jews, Poles, and Crimean Tatars. Religions include: Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Ukrainian Greek Catholicism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Islam, and others. The official language is Ukrainian, with a literacy rate of 99.7 percent.

Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union on 24 August 1991. 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 highest ranking republic. Its diversified heavy industry supplied the unique equipment and raw materials to industrial and mining sites (vertical drilling apparatus) in other regions of the former USSR.

The country has 24 provinces, one autonomous region, and two municipalities. The chief of state is President Viktor A. Yushchenko (since 23 January 2005). The unicameral Supreme Council (Verkhovna Rada) has 450 seats; each member serves a five-year term. The major agricultural products of Ukraine are: grain, sugar beats, sunflower seeds, vegetables, beef, and milk. The main industries of Ukraine include: coal, electric power, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, and food processing .

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 11/2007; 3/2007

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