Ukraine, formerly a Soviet socialist republic, declared it self independent of the former USSR in 1991. Its neighbors to the west are POLAND, SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY and ROMANIA, and it is bounded to the south by the Black Sea. To the east lies the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and to the north the republic of BELARUS. Drained by the Dnepr, Dnestr, Southern Bug and Donets rivers, Ukraine consists largely of fertile steppes. The climate is continental, although this is greatly modified by the proximity of the Black Sea. The Ukrainian steppe is one of the chief wheat- producing regions of Europe. Other major crops include corn, sugar beet, flax, tobacco, sova, hops and potatoes with agriculture accounting for about a quarter of all employment. There are rich reserves of coal and raw materials for industry, but the country is still reliant on the other former Soviet republics for natural gas and oil. The central and eastern regions form one of the world’s densest industrial concentrations. Manufacturing industries include ferrous metallurgy, heavy machinery, chemicals, food processing, gas and oil refining. In 1986 the catastrophic accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station occurred which had far-reaching effects and widespread contamination. Financial assistance was agreed in 1996 with a number of countries to help the Ukraine close the station which is due to be completed before 2000.
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Ukraine Tour: Ukraine – Fact and Info
Geographic coordinates: 49 00 N, 32 00
Area: 603,700 sq km
Coastline: 2,782 km
Climate: 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
Ethnic groups: Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8%
Religions: Ukrainian Orthodox – Kyiv Patriarchate 50.4%, Ukrainian Orthodox – Moscow Patriarchate 26.1%, Ukrainian Greek Catholic 8%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 7.2%, Roman Catholic 2.2%, Protestant 2.2%, Jewish 0.6%, other 3.2%
Languages: Ukrainian (official) 67%, Russian 24%, other 9% (includes small Romanian-, Polish-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities)
Capital city: Kiev
National holiday: Independence Day, 24 August (1991)
Internet country code: .ua
International Country Calling Code: 380
Currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)