Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe. In 1991 it proclaimed itself independent and has since forged closer ties with NATO and the European Union. However, it has been occupied by Russia for hundreds of years. This has led to a great number of refugees from the country. It is the continent’s biggest humanitarian crisis in many decades.
The Ukrainians have a rich and diverse history. Their religion, Orthodox Christianity, has intersected with their culture and geopolitics. For example, the Monastery of Caves on Berestov Mount in Kiev is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. It was founded in 1051. Other artistic traditions include religious folk iconography and ceramics.
Most of what is now Ukraine was once governed by the Polish-Lithuanian nobility. Most of the country was occupied by the Russian Empire in the late 1700s and early 1800s. A number of armed revolts against Soviet rule were staged during and after World War II.
The Ukrainian economy is largely based on agriculture. The national currency is the hryvnia. The average salary in Ukraine is about 30 hryvnia. It is worth around $1.
During World War II, Ukraine was occupied by Germany. Millions of Ukrainians were enslaved and starved. In addition, most of the country was seized by the Soviet Union, which drove out most of the Germans. It was also the site of the Holodomor, a famine which killed three to five million people.
During the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian language was banned in print and on the radio. Despite the suppression, some nationalist sentiments were still present in Ukraine. In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych became president and established a more close relationship with Russia. Some Ukrainians were supportive of his move, while others were unhappy.
The deteriorating situation has led to the fastest displacement crisis in Europe in recent history. Women are increasingly unable to get emergency medical care, childbirths can be dangerous, and basic health services are not available to all.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been escalating for several years. As it continues, European states are taking steps to prepare for the possible influx of refugees. The International Rescue Committee calls for an immediate ceasefire and for aid agencies to be allowed to help those in need. While some countries have punished Russia for its actions, others have stepped up to protect the Ukrainians.
The Ukrainians have fought back against attacks from both sides. The most notable example of this is when Vladimir Putin illegally annexed four more Ukrainian regions. This prompted the Ukrainians to launch a major counteroffensive against the Russians in August. The result of the Ukrainian attack was a stunning setback for Russia.
Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the country has faced the worst displacement crisis in Europe in decades. Thousands of Ukrainians have fled their homes, including thousands of children. In addition, thousands of civilians have been targeted by bombings.
The European Union is taking steps to address the crisis, including providing adequate protection for all citizens. But more needs to be done. The UN Charter must be respected and funds must be made available for relief services. Moreover, European countries should welcome and help their neighbors in Ukraine who are fleeing the crisis.