Note: In an apparent response to heavy pressure from Russia, President Viktor Yanukovych in late November 2013 announced that Ukraine was not prepared to sign an association agreement and other accords designed to deepen Ukraine's economic ties to the European Union (EU). The decision triggered massive protests in Kiev by pro-EU demonstrators led by the major opposition parties. Russia, encouraging Ukraine to join the Russian customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, subsequently approved $17 billion in loans and sharply reduced the price of Russian gas exports to Ukraine.

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. ...

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