Ukraine has been fought over and subjugated for centuries. A short-lived independence from Russia in 1917-1920 was followed by Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines in 1921-22 and in l932- 33, in which over 8 million died. During World War II German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 million more deaths.
Ukraine attained its independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR .Ukraine is bordered in the west by Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, in the southwest by Romania and Moldova; in the east and northeast by Russia; and in the north by Belarus .Ukraine is washed by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in the south.
The Crimean Autonomous Republic-encompassing the Crimean Peninsula or Crimea is part of Ukraine . The capital and the largest city is Kyiv. Ukraine has a strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia .Much of Ukraine is a fertile plain suited for agriculture, Ukraine is rich in natural resources and has an economy with significant agricultural and industrial sectors. The country has a democratic form of government headed by a president.
From the 9th century A.D. northern Ukraine formed part of Kyivskaya Rus, the first significant East Slavic state, which was invaded by the Mongols in the 13th century. Ukraine was for centuries thereafter under the rule of a succession of foreign powers, including Poland and the Russian Empire. In 1918, a Communist government was established in Ukraine and in 1922 the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was one of the four founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Ukraine s declaration of independence, approved by a vote on December 1, 1991, was a major factor in the USSR s collapse later that month.