Ukraine

The former “breadbasket of the Soviet Union,” Ukraine lies on the north coast of the Black Sea. Politics is divided between pro-Russian sentiments and pro-European nationalism.


Geography:

Mainly fertile steppes and forests. 

Carpathian Mountains in west, Crimean chain in south. 

Pripet Marshes in northwest.

Climate:

Mainly continental climate, with distinct seasons. 

Southern Crimea has Mediterranean climate.

People & Society:

Over 90% of people in the west are Ukrainian, but in cities in the east and south, and in Crimea, Russians form a majority. 

The government is wary of Crimean separatism. 

Tatars have been returning there since the Soviet Union’s collapse and now comprise around 12% of the local population. 

Over five million people in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia live in areas “contaminated” by the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster.

Economy:

Minerals: 5% of global reserves. 

Slow reform of land laws, holding back agriculture. 

Oil/natural gas transit from Russia and the Caspian to Europe: natural gas price disputes with Russia. 

Political crisis

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