Ukraine is made up of 24 provinces (oblasts) and the autonomous republic of Crimea, as well as Kiev and Sevastopol, which are cities with special administrative status. Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, and its largest city, while Sevastopol is the naval headquarters of the country.
Ukraine has a population of around 45 million, over three-quarters of which are ethnic Ukrainians, and the next largest ethnic group are Russians with about 17 percent. Ukraine is facing population decline, with one of the world's lowest fertility rates, its birthrate is lower than its death rate.
In its early history, Ukraine was called Kievan Rus, from about the year 880, and is the first known East Slavic country. Kievan Rus was a strong power in its day, but it fell apart, and was divided among the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Kingdom of Poland. Later, the territory of Ukraine was divided between the Russian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ukraine began working toward independence in the twentieth century, before becoming the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1919. Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union when it dissolved in 1991.
Last Updated On : February 13, 2013