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Portal:Ukraine

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Welcome to the Ukraine Portal

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The small coat of arms of Ukraine, the Tryzub
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Ukraine (Listeni/juːˈkrn/ yew-KRAYN; Ukrainian: Україна; transliterated: Ukrayina; [ukrɑˈjinɑ]) is a country in Central and Eastern Europe. Ukraine borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after the Russian Federation.

From at least the ninth century, the territory of Ukraine was a centre of medieval East Slavic civilization that formed the state that became known as Kievan Rus' and for the following several centuries the territory was divided between a number of regional powers. After a brief period of independence (1917-1921) following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Ukraine became one of the founding Soviet Republics in 1922. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's territory was enlarged westward after the Second World War and finally in 1954 with the Crimea transfer. Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

Ukraine is a unitary state composed of 27 regions: 24 oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Crimea), and two cities with special status: Kiev, its capital and largest city, and Sevastopol, which, along with Crimea, is disputed between Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine continues to maintain the second largest military in Europe, after that of Russia. The country is home to 46 million people, 77.8 percent of whom are ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable minorities of Russians (17%), Belarusians and Romanians. The Ukrainian language is the official language in Ukraine. Russian is also widely spoken. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has heavily influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.

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The Caspian expeditions of the Rus were military raids undertaken by the Rus between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores. Initially, the Rus appeared in Saerkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged Gorgan, the territory of present day Azerbaijan, and the adjacent areas, taking slaves and goods. On their return, the northern raiders were attacked and defeated by Khazar Muslims in the Volga Delta, and those who escaped were killed by the local tribes on the middle Volga.

During their next expedition in 943, the Rus captured Barda, the capital of Arran, in the modern-day Azerbaijan. The Rus stayed there for several months, killing many inhabitants of the city and amassing substantial plunder. It was only an outbreak of dysentery among the Rus that forced them to depart with their spoils. Sviatoslav, prince of Kiev, commanded the next attack, which destroyed the Khazar state in 965. Sviatoslav's campaign established the Rus's hold on the north-south trade routes, helping to alter the demographics of the region. Raids continued through the time period with the last Scandinavian attempt to reestablish the route to the Caspian Sea taking place in 1041 by Ingvar the Far-Travelled.

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Zbarazh Castle.

Zbarazh (Ukrainian: Збараж, Polish: Zbaraż, Yiddish: Zbarj) is a small city in the Ternopil Oblast (province) of western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Zbarazh Raion (district), and is located in the historic region of Galicia. The major attraction of the city is the Zbarazh Castle that played a key role during the Khmelnytsky Uprising, the heroic defense of which eventually led to change of momentum and extinguishing the Cossack revolt.


Photo credit: plf16

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Mykola Leontovych
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle

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Konstiantyn Trutovsky.  By the water well.

By the water well Konstiantyn Trutovsky

Konstiantyn Trutovsky was a Ukrainian realist painter and graphic artist. His artistic heritage includes numerous genre screens on Ukrainian themes. Trutovsky was interested in ethnography and depicted colorful Ukrainian folk customs, not shying away from "a dash of good humour".

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