Note: On October 11, 2011, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison following her conviction for abuse of power in connecting with a 2009 gas contract with Russia. The conviction and sentencing set off a firestorm of protest among her domestic supporters and the international community.

Political Status: Formerly the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; declared independence on August 24, 1991; new constitution adopted on June 28, 1996.

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

Population: 46,462,142 (2012E—UN); 44,854,065 (2012E—U.S. Census).

Major Urban Centers (including suburbs, 2005E): KIEV (KYIV, 1,771,000), Donetsk (Donec'k, 4,644,000), Dnepropetrovsk (Dnipro-petrovsk, 3,461,000), Kharkov (Charkiv, 2,837,000), Lvov (L'viv, 2,582,000), Odessa (Odesa, 2,407,000).

Official Language: Ukrainian (replaced Russian in 1990). Following independence in 1991, ...

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