Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна, romanized: Ukraïna, pronounced [ʊkrɐˈjinɐ] is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest country by area in Europe after Russia, which borders to the east and northeast.
Ukraine also shares borders with Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the south; and has a coastline along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
It spans an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), with a population of 43.6 million, and is the eighth-most populous country in Europe. The nation’s capital and largest city is Kyiv.
The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key center of East Slavic culture, with the loose tribal federation Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity.
Following its fragmentation into several principalities in the 13th century and the devastation created by the Mongol invasion, the territorial unity collapsed and the area was contested, divided, and ruled by a variety of powers, including the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Tsardom of Russia.
A Cossack Hetmanate emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, a Ukrainian national movement for self-determination emerged, and the internationally recognized Ukrainian People’s Republic was declared on 23 June 1917. The Ukrainian SSR was a founding member of the Soviet Union in 1922. The country regained its independence in 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Following its independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state; it formed a limited military partnership with Russia and other CIS countries while also establishing a partnership with NATO in 1994.
In 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan began, which later escalated into the Revolution of Dignity that led to the overthrow of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government.
These events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 and the War in Donbas, a protracted conflict with Russian-backed separatists, from April 2014 until the Russian invasion in February 2022. Ukraine applied for the economic component of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union on 1 January 2016.
Ukraine is a developing country ranking 74th in the Human Development Index. It is the poorest country in Europe,[clarification needed] suffering from a very high poverty rate as well as severe corruption. However, because of its extensive fertile farmlands, Ukraine is one of the largest grain exporters in the world. Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with a separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The country is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the GUAM organization, the Association Trio, and the Lublin Triangle.