Ukraine - 1 Country Profile

Generic Information

Ukraine, nestled in Eastern Europe, is the continent's second-largest country after Russia, with a total land area of about 603,500 square kilometres. Historically significant and politically pivotal, it shares its borders with seven countries: Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the north, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west, and Romania and Moldova to the southwest. Additionally, it has a considerable stretch of coastline to the south, where it meets the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov.


Ukraine's geography is diverse, playing a crucial role in its historical development, culture, and economy. The landscape can be roughly divided into three main zones: forest belts, forest-steppe, and steppe.

  1. Forest Belts: Dominating the northern and north-western parts, this region, primarily consisting of mixed and coniferous trees, witnesses the flow of major rivers like the Desna and the Pripyat. The terrain is often marshy, especially in the Polesia area, which sprawls across the northern borders.
  2. Forest-Steppe: Transitioning southwards, the forest-steppe zone is a blend of woodland and grassy plains, with rivers such as the Dnieper, one of the longest in Europe, flowing through. This region has historically been the agricultural heartland of the country due to its fertile black soils or "chernozem". Major cities like Kyiv, the capital, and Kharkiv are located here.
  3. Steppe: Further south, the landscape opens into vast plains or steppe. Although once entirely grassland, much of this region is now cultivated. It stretches to the Black Sea coast, with significant ports like Odesa. The Crimean Peninsula, though internationally recognized as part of Ukraine, has been a contentious region and was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The country also boasts of the Carpathian Mountains to the west, providing a scenic backdrop and a haven for nature enthusiasts. To the south, the Black Sea coastline attracts tourists with its picturesque landscapes and sandy beaches.

Population: As of 2022, Ukraine's population hovers around 41 million.

Largest Cities:

  • Kyiv: The capital city and the political, cultural, and economic centre of Ukraine.
  • Kharkiv: Located in the north-east, it's a major industrial, educational, and cultural hub.
  • Odesa: A port city on the Black Sea, known for its maritime heritage, beaches, and architectural landmarks.
  • Dnipro: Located in the central part of the country, it's an important industrial and business centre.
  • Lviv: Nestled in the west, close to the border with Poland, Lviv is known for its historic architecture and rich cultural scene.

Administrative Division: Ukraine is administratively divided into 24 provinces, known as oblasts. In addition, there are two cities with special status: Kyiv, the capital, and Sevastopol, located on the Crimean Peninsula. The Crimean Peninsula itself, recognized internationally as part of Ukraine, became an area of contention after its annexation by Russia in 2014. Each oblast is further divided into districts, cities, and villages, each having its local governing bodies.


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