in Ukrainian UKRAYINA) is a country in south-eastern Europe, the second largest
of the continent after Russia, and one of the most populous in Europe. Its
history spans more than a thousand years. For several centuries it had stayed
under Russia's domination and regained independence in 1991.
Ukraine is bordered by Belarus on the north, by Russia on the north, north-east, and east, by the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea on the south, by Moldova and Romania on the south-west, and by Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on the west.
The capital is Kyiv. Ukraine occupies an area of 233,100 square miles (603,700 square km) and its population is about 50,000,000. Ukraine consists almost entirely of level plains and occupies a large portion of the East European Plain. The Dnipro River runs from north to south. Other lowlands extend along the shores of the Black and Azov seas in southern Ukraine, while the Crimean Peninsula, in the extreme south, has both lowlands and low mountains. Western Ukraine has some uplands, and the Carpathian Mountains extend through that region for more than 150 miles (240 km).
Ukraine lies in a temperate climatic zone and receives 16 to 24 inches (400 to 600 mm) of precipitation annually. The Dnipro, Don, Dniester, and other rivers all drain southward through the plains to empty into the Azov-Black Sea Basin. Ukraine's most important river, the Dnipro, is extensively dammed along much of its course for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes.