Before the 18th century, most of what is now Ukraine was ruled by the Polish-Lithuanian nobility. The people living there were predominantly Orthodox East Slavs who formed semi-autonomous states, known as Cossack statelets. Most of these people felt affinity with Muscovite Russia, and they fought against the Polish overlords in the early seventeenth century. By 1648, the Zaporizhian Cossacks had staged a major uprising against their Polish overlords, and the Tsardom of Russia signed an alliance with the Zaporizhian Cossacks.
Ukraine is situated in Eastern Europe and borders Russia and Belarus to the north and west. To the south, Ukraine borders the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The country is also bordered by Romania and Moldova. In the west, it borders Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. And to the southeast is the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.
During the conflict, most of the fighting has taken place in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. The use of Russian weapons in this region has destroyed Ukrainian port cities along the Black Sea of Azov. Russia has also seized several Ukrainian ports, compounding the crisis. In October 2018, Ukraine and seven other NATO members participated in large-scale air exercises over western Ukraine. Russia, meanwhile, has conducted its largest military exercises since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union. The country also adopted the hryvnia, a new currency. In 1996, the country adopted a new constitution under Leonid Kuchma. In the following years, the country experienced a series of armed revolutions, mainly in the western areas, which had been annexed by Poland in 1939. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine gained independence.
On February 24, 2022, Russia began a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. Since then, over 5,000 people have died in the conflict and over six million have been internally displaced. Many people have fled to neighboring countries to escape the violence. In addition to this, food supplies in the area have suffered as Ukraine has been unable to export grain.
As part of the ongoing conflict, Russia annexing Crimea exacerbated ethnic divisions in Ukraine. In February 2014, pro-Russian separatists held independence referendums in eastern Ukraine. Ultimately, the conflict led to the removal of Yanukovych from power. A Russian military force then invaded the Crimean Peninsula.
The conflict in Ukraine has spawned many competing interpretations of history. While there is little agreement on the details, this issue has become a focal point of the Russia-West dispute. As a result, it has become one of Putin’s unusual passions. The conflict is causing great economic distress in the region, and the country has a very low level of economic growth.
Ukraine’s climate is temperate, with winters being milder and summers being warmer in the west. As the country moves closer to the Black Sea, chestnut soils become increasingly salinized.