Political Status: Formerly the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; declared independence on August 24, 1991; became a sovereign member of the Commonwealth of Independent States on December 21, 1991; new constitution adopted June 28, 1996.

Area: 233,090 sq. mi. (603,700 sq. km.).

Population: 48,457,000 (2001C); 47,243,000 (2004E).

Major Urban Centers (1999E): KYIV (KIEV, 2,647,000), Kharkiv (Kharkov, 1,550,000), Dnipropetrovsk (Dnepropetrovsk, 1,147,000), Donetsk (1,093,000), Odesa (Odessa, 1,032,000), Lviv (Lvov, 811,000).

Official Language: Ukrainian (replaced Russian in 1990). The Council for Language Policy and the National Orthography Commission are currently working to restore syntax, style, and other aspects of Ukrainian to what they were before the 1930s, when Moscow ordered Ukrainian to be made more uniform with Russian.

Monetary Unit: Hryvna (official rate July ...

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