Ukraine is an Eastern European nation. It is Europe's second-biggest nation, behind Russia, which borders it to the east and northeast. Ukraine also has borders with Belarus to the north, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the south, and a coastline along the Azov and Black Seas. It has a population of roughly 40 million people and an area of about 600,000 km2 (230,000 sq mi). Kyiv is the nation's capital and biggest city. Ukrainian is the official and national language, while most people are also conversant in Russian.
During the Middle Ages, the region was a major center of East Slavic culture under Kievan Rus', which was eventually devastated by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. The territory was fought, partitioned, and governed by foreign forces throughout the following 600 years, including the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austrian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Tsardom of Russia. The Cossack Hetmanate formed in Central Ukraine in the 17th century, but it was divided between Russia and Poland before being absorbed entirely by the Russian Empire. Ukrainian nationalism grew in the nineteenth century, notably in Galicia, which was then part of Austria-Hungary. Following the Russian Revolution, a Ukrainian national movement resurfaced, and the Ukrainian People's Republic was established in 1917. This short-lived state was forcefully recreated as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which joined the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1922. Millions of Ukrainians were slain during the Holodomor, which lasted from 1932 to 1937. The Soviet Union took Western Ukraine from Poland in 1939, four weeks after Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Treaty and one day after the Soviet Union's Supreme Soviet ratified the pact. Ukraine was the most populated and industrialized republic after the Russian SFSR from 1922 and 1991.
With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine regained its freedom. Ukraine has been administered as a unitary republic with a semi-presidential government since its independence. It proclaimed itself a neutral state in 1994, forging a limited military collaboration with Russia and other CIS nations as well as a relationship with NATO. Mass protests and rallies known as the Euromaidan erupted in 2013, developing into the Revolution of Dignity, which resulted in the formation of a new government. These events triggered Russia's annexation of Crimea and a conflict in Donbas against Russian-backed rebels, culminating in a Russian invasion in February 2022. Despite the continuing conflict with Russia, Ukraine has continued to pursue deeper economic, political, and military connections with the West (especially NATO).
According to several international observers, Ukraine is one of the poorest nations in Europe and suffers from extensive corruption. However, thanks to its vast fertile territory, pre-war Ukraine was one of the world's major grain exporters. It belongs to the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, GUAM, the Association Trio, and the Lublin Triangle.