As Europe’s second largest country the semi-presidential republic of Ukraine is a land of wide, fertile agricultural plains (steppes), plateaus, gorges and with the Carpathian mountains in the west. Its highest point is 2061 metres and has nearly 2800 kilometres of coastline along the Black Sea. Approximately 3000 rivers flow through the country of which two of the biggest major river systems are the Dnipro and Dnister. Ukraine translated means borderland and it does border Belarus, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia.
Ukraine has strategic geographical importance as it lies at the crossroads between Europe and Asia.
From around the 9th century Ukraine was the centre of the eastern Slavic civilisation which disappeared about the 12th century. After an unsettled period the country was divided and ruled by regional powers until by the 19th century it became part of the Russian Empire. The country suffered badly during World War 2 with 7 - 8 million deaths. It finally gained independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR. In 2004 a peaceful mass protest called the Orange Revolution brought about political reform. While Ukraine and Russia share common historical origins, the west of the country has close ties with its European neighbours, particularly Poland. Ukraine depends on Russia for its gas supplies and forms an important part of the pipeline transit route for Russian gas exports to Europe.
Presently Ukraine is dealing with fighting its eastern region bordering Russia and as elsewhere in the world the country battles with the Covid19 pandemic.
The Ukrainian economy dependence on steel exports made it particularly vulnerable to the effects of the global financial crisis of 2008 and in October of that year the country was offered a $16.5bn (£10.4bn) loan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Ukraine has made clear its aspiration towards EU membership; 2015 has been mooted as a possible target entry date. This has caused internal conflict with demonstrations and the split of Crimea from Ukraine to become part of Russia. There is also considerable unrest in eastern Ukraine.
Population: 46.2 million (UN, 2007)
Area: 603,700 sq km (233,090 sq miles)
Major languages: Ukrainian (official), Russian
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 74 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 hryvnya = 100 kopiykas
Main exports: Military equipment, metals, pipes, machinery, petroleum products, textiles, agricultural products
GNI per capita: US $2,550 (World Bank, 2007)
Internet domain: .ua
International dialling code: +380
The climate is mostly temperate with warm summers and cold winters.
Rainfall is predominantly in the west and north, with the southern Crimean region
experiencing a Mediterranean climate becoming hot in the summers. T
There can be considerable melt water flooding in the Carpathian mountains.
There is notable contamination in the north east of the country resultant from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. In 2009 our charity started to bring children from northern Ukraine to the UK for recuperative care holidays.
The Covid-19 pandemic is rife as the government continues to control by means of restrictions and a vaccination programme. Consequently there are no children visits for 2021.
The Children of Northern Ukraine need your help
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CCLL Head Office at: 6 Hartley Business Park, Selborne Road, Alton. Hampshire GU34 3HD
Chernobyl Children's Lifeline,
England/Wales Registered Charity 1014274; Scotland Registered Charity SC040136
- 4 Creebridge
- Newton Stewart
- DG8 6NP