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In 1991, Ukraine achieved independence with the dissolution of the USSR. On Feb. 23, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in what has been reported as "the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II." Several world leaders have denounced the attack and promise sanctions against Russia.

Check this page regularly for updated news and information related to the invasion.


UKRAINE FACTS

A map of Ukraine showing the location of major cities.
Troy Becker / The Forum

  • Capital: Kyiv
  • Population: 43.7 million (July 2021 est.)
  • Population Growth: -0.49% (2021 est.)
  • Legislature: Unicameral Supreme Council or Verkhovna Rada (450 seats)
  • Area: 233,031 square miles
  • Historical: 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. Ukraine achieved independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR.
  • Economy: Lower middle-income non-EU Eastern European economy; major reforms after Maidan revolution; major wheat producer; industrial and energy exporter; persistent Russian interference and corruption weaken growth and investments; negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Language: Ukrainian (official) 67.5%, Russian (regional language) 29.6%, other 2.9% (2001 est.)
  • Religion: Orthodox, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish (2013 est.)
  • Natural resources: Ukraine has more recoverable reserves of uranium ores than any other European nation, and is second in the world in iron ore reserves (2010). The nation is third in Europe for shale gas reserves and has the world's fourth-largest natural gas pipeline system. “Roughly 20% of Europe’s gas passes through Ukraine and the country has the third-largest gas production and the fourth-largest gas market in Europe,” according to a 2007 Oxford Institue for Energy Studies report.
  • Agriculture: Ukraine has more arable land than any other nation in Europe. It is the number one exporter of sunflowers and sunflower oil in the world (2019). The country is the world's fourth-largest exporter of corn (2019-2020), third in potato production (2019), and the number five exporter of wheat in the world (2020).
  • More info about Ukraine.

Sources: CIA World Factbook; Snopes.com


LATEST RUSSIA/UKRAINE HEADLINES

Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he could not rule out that tensions would emerge in Moscow's relations with Helsinki and Stockholm over their joining NATO.

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MORE HEADLINES

The Russian strikes on Kharkiv, throughout Tuesday and continuing on Wednesday morning, were the worst for weeks in the area where normal life had been returning since Ukraine pushed Russian forces back in a major counter-offensive last month.
The latest diplomatic crisis is over the Kaliningrad enclave, a port and surrounding countryside on the Baltic Sea that is home to nearly a million Russians, connected to the rest of Russia by a rail link through EU- and NATO-member Lithuania.
Moscow's separatist proxies claimed to have captured Toshkivka, a town on the mostly Ukrainian-held western bank of the Siverskyi Donets river, south of Sievierodonetsk, which has become the main battlefield city in recent weeks.
In a grievance-filled speech in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin railed at the West, and the United States in particular, but sought to play down the EU issue. "We have nothing against it," he said. "It is not a military bloc. It's the right of any country to join economic union."
Ukraine applied to join the EU just four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. Four days later, so did Moldova and Georgia — smaller ex-Soviet states also contending with separatist regions occupied by Russian troops.
Air raid sirens blared in Kyiv as the visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Olaf Scholz and Italy's Mario Draghi began, with the leaders touring a nearby town wrecked early in the war. After holding talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the leaders signaled that Ukraine should be granted European Union candidate status, a symbolic gesture that would draw Kyiv closer to the economic bloc.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian officials said their troops were still holding out against massive Russian bombardment in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, and described new progress in a counteroffensive in the south.
Moscow has focused most of its firepower on the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk while also trying to consolidate control over southern territory encompassing the strategic city of Kherson, north of the Black Sea. Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to retake ground in wheat fields and empty villages along a deserted motorway between the city of Mykolaiv and Russian-occupied Kherson.
Russia had told Ukrainian forces holed up in a chemical plant in the shattered city to stop "senseless resistance and lay down arms," pressing its advantage in the battle for control of eastern Ukraine.