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.


Mainly fertile steppes and forests. 

Carpathian Mountains in west, Crimean chain in south. 

Pripet Marshes in northwest.


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.


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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