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Facts about Ukraine for Kids

Ukraine has an area of 233,062 sq mi, making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world. With a population of about 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.
  • During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity.
  • Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia.
  • A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and later submerged fully into Russia.
  • Two brief periods of independence occurred during the 20th century, once near the end of World War I and another during World War II, but both occasions would ultimately see Ukraine’s territories conquered and consolidated into a Soviet republic, a situation that persisted until 1991, when Ukraine gained her independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War.
  • In the 2000s, the government began leaning towards NATO, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan signed in 2002.
  • Recently deposed President Viktor Yanukovych considered the current level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient, and was against Ukraine joining NATO.
  • In 2013, protests against the government of President Yanukovych broke out in downtown Kiev after the government made the decision to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, this began a several months long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan, of which later escalated into a full on revolution that ultimately resulted in the overthrowing of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government.
  • The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.
  • By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included parts of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region.
  • In 1441, in the southern Ukraine, especially Crimea and surrounding steppes, Genghisid prince Haci I Giray founded the Crimean Khanate.
  • Eventually Peter recognized that to consolidate and modernize Russia’s political and economic power it was necessary to do away with the hetmanate and Ukrainian and Cossack aspirations to autonomy.
  • The Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk or Pacts and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporizhian Host was a 1710 constitutional document written by Hetman Pylyp Orlyk, a Cossack of Ukraine, then within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.