Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was reconquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died. In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 to 8 million more deaths. Although final independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties. A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor YUSHCHENKO. Subsequent internal squabbles in the YUSHCHENKO camp allowed his rival Viktor YANUKOVYCH to stage a comeback in parliamentary elections and become prime minister in August of 2006. An early legislative election, brought on by a political crisis in the spring of 2007, saw Yuliya TYMOSHENKO, as head of an "Orange" coalition, installed as a new prime minister in December 2007.
temperate continental; Mediterranean only on the southern Crimean coast; precipitation disproportionately distributed, highest in west and north, lesser in east and southeast; winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland; summers are warm across the greater part of the country, hot in the south
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
name: Kyiv (Kiev) geographic coordinates: 50 26 N, 30 31 E time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
24 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast'), 1 autonomous republic* (avtonomna respublika), and 2 municipalities (mista, singular - misto) with oblast status**; Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Crimea or Avtonomna Respublika Krym* (Simferopol'), Dnipropetrovs'k, Donets'k, Ivano-Frankivs'k, Kharkiv, Kherson, Khmel'nyts'kyy, Kirovohrad, Kyiv**, Kyiv, Luhans'k, L'viv, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Sevastopol'**, Sumy, Ternopil', Vinnytsya, Volyn' (Luts'k), Zakarpattya (Uzhhorod), Zaporizhzhya, Zhytomyr note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence Day, 24 August (1991); note - 22 January 1918, the day Ukraine first declared its independence (from Soviet Russia) and the day the short-lived Western and Central Ukrainian republics united (1919), is now celebrated as Unity Day
chief of state: President Viktor A. YUSHCHENKO (since 23 January 2005) head of government: Prime Minister Yuliya TYMOSHENKO (since 18 December 2007); First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr TURCHYNOV (since 18 December 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers Hryhoriy NEMYRYA and Ivan VASYUNYK (since 18 December 2007) cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers selected by the prime minister; the only exceptions are the foreign and defense ministers, who are chosen by the president note: there is also a National Security and Defense Council or NSDC originally created in 1992 as the National Security Council; the NSDC staff is tasked with developing national security policy on domestic and international matters and advising the president; a Presidential Secretariat helps draft presidential edicts and provides policy support to the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); note - a special repeat runoff presidential election between Viktor YUSHCHENKO and Viktor YANUKOVYCH took place on 26 December 2004 after the earlier 21 November 2004 contest - won by YANUKOVYCH - was invalidated by the Ukrainian Supreme Court because of widespread and significant violations; under constitutional reforms that went into effect 1 January 2006, the majority in parliament takes the lead in naming the prime minister election results: Viktor YUSHCHENKO elected president; percent of vote - Viktor YUSHCHENKO 51.99%, Viktor YANUKOVYCH 44.2%
unicameral Supreme Council or Verkhovna Rada (450 seats; members allocated on a proportional basis to those parties that gain 3% or more of the national electoral vote; to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 30 September 2007 (next to be held in 2012) election results: percent of vote by party/bloc - Party of Regions 34.4%, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 30.7%, Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense 14.2%, CPU 5.4%, Lytvyn bloc 4%, other parties 11.3%; seats by party/bloc - Party of Regions 175, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 156, Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense 72, CPU 27, Lytvyn bloc 20
Christian Democratic Union [Volodymyr STRETOVYCH]; Communist Party of Ukraine or CPU [Petro SYMONENKO]; European Party of Ukraine [Mykola KATERYNCHUK]; Fatherland Party (Batkivshchyna) [Yuliya TYMOSHENKO]; Forward Ukraine! [Viktor MUSIYAKA]; Labor Party of Ukraine [Mykola SYROTA]; People's Union Our Ukraine [Vyacheslav KYRYLENKO]; Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs [Anatoliy KINAKH]; Party of the Defenders of the Fatherland [Yuriy Karmazin]; People's Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) [Borys TARASYUK]; People's Party [Volodymyr LYTVYN]; PORA! (It's Time!) party [Vladyslav KASKIV]; Progressive Socialist Party [Natalya VITRENKO]; Reforms and Order Party [Viktor PYNZENYK]; Party of Regions [Viktor YANUKOVYCH]; Republican Party [Yuriy BOYKO]; Sobor [Anatoliy MATVIYENKO]; Social Democratic Party [Yevhen KORNICHUK]; Social Democratic Party (United) or SDPU(o) [Yuriy ZAHORODNIY]; Socialist Party of Ukraine or SPU [Oleksandr MOROZ]; Ukrainian People's Party [Yuriy KOSTENKO]; Viche [Inna BOHOSLOVSKA]
chief of mission: Ambassador Oleh V. SHAMSHUR chancery: 3350 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 telephone:  (202) 333-0606 FAX:  (202) 333-0817 consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York, San Francisco
After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union, producing about four times the output of the next-ranking republic. Its fertile black soil generated more than one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output, and its farms provided substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain, and vegetables to other republics. Likewise, its diversified heavy industry supplied the unique equipment (for example, large diameter pipes) and raw materials to industrial and mining sites (vertical drilling apparatus) in other regions of the former USSR. Shortly after independence was ratified in December 1991, the Ukrainian Government liberalized most prices and erected a legal framework for privatization, but widespread resistance to reform within the government and the legislature soon stalled reform efforts and led to some backtracking. Output by 1999 had fallen to less than 40% of the 1991 level. Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. Ukraine depends on imports to meet about three-fourths of its annual oil and natural gas requirements. A dispute with Russia over pricing in late 2005 and early 2006 led to a temporary gas cut-off; Ukraine concluded a deal with Russia in January 2006 that almost doubled the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas. Outside institutions - particularly the IMF - have encouraged Ukraine to quicken the pace and scope of reforms. Ukrainian Government officials eliminated most tax and customs privileges in a March 2005 budget law, bringing more economic activity out of Ukraine's large shadow economy, but more improvements are needed, including fighting corruption, developing capital markets, and improving the legislative framework. Ukraine's economy remains buoyant despite political turmoil between the Prime Minister and President. Real GDP growth reached about 7% in 2006-07, fueled by high global prices for steel - Ukraine's top export - and by strong domestic consumption, spurred by rising pensions and wages. Although the economy is likely to expand in 2008, long-term growth could be threatened by the government's plans to reinstate tax, trade, and customs privileges and to maintain restrictive grain export quotas.
general assessment: Ukraine's telecommunication development plan, running through 2005, emphasizes improving domestic trunk lines, international connections, and the mobile cellular system domestic: at independence in December 1991, Ukraine inherited a telephone system that was antiquated, inefficient, and in disrepair; more than 3.5 million applications for telephones could not be satisfied; telephone density is rising and the domestic trunk system is being improved; about one-third of Ukraine's networks are digital and a majority of regional centers now have digital switching stations; improvements in local networks and local exchanges continue to lag; the mobile cellular telephone system is expanding rapidly international: country code - 380; 2 new domestic trunk lines are a part of the fiber-optic Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) system and 3 Ukrainian links have been installed in the fiber-optic Trans-European Lines (TEL) project that connects 18 countries; additional international service is provided by the Italy-Turkey-Ukraine-Russia (ITUR) fiber-optic submarine cable and by earth stations in the Intelsat, Inmarsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems
total: 193 ships (1000 GRT or over) 763,293 GRT/899,859 DWT by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 145, container 3, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 11, roll on/roll off 7, specialized tanker 2 registered in other countries: 194 (Belize 10, Cambodia 27, Comoros 13, Cyprus 6, Dominica 3, Georgia 24, Liberia 24, Malta 28, Moldova 3, Mongolia 3, Panama 8, Russia 10, Sierra Leone 8, Slovakia 10, St Kitts and Nevis 5, St Vincent and The Grenadines 12, unknown 3) (2007)
1997 boundary delimitation treaty with Belarus remains un-ratified due to unresolved financial claims, stalling demarcation and reducing border security; delimitation of land boundary with Russia is complete with preparations for demarcation underway; the dispute over the boundary between Russia and Ukraine through the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov remains unresolved despite a December 2003 framework agreement and ongoing expert-level discussions; Moldova and Ukraine operate joint customs posts to monitor transit of people and commodities through Moldova's break-away Transnistria Region, which remains under OSCE supervision; the ICJ gave Ukraine until December 2006 to reply, and Romania until June 2007 to rejoin, in their dispute submitted in 2004 over Ukrainian-administered Zmiyinyy/Serpilor (Snake) Island and Black Sea maritime boundary; Romania opposes Ukraine's reopening of a navigation canal from the Danube border through Ukraine to the Black Sea
limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; some synthetic drug production for export to the West; limited government eradication program; used as transshipment point for opiates and other illicit drugs from Africa, Latin America, and Turkey to Europe and Russia; Ukraine has improved anti-money-laundering controls, resulting in its removal from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) Noncooperative Countries and Territories List in February 2004; Ukraine's anti-money-laundering regime continues to be monitored by FATF