Independence Day in the Ukraine- August 24
On August 24, 1991, Ukraine became an independent state from the Soviet Union.
The law that established its independence was put to a vote in a referendum, and more than 90% of the votes approved voted for independence. Ukraine's Independence Day begins to be celebrated on August 23, which is Ukraine's flagship day, and continues the next day with a military parade held in the capital, Kiev.
Ukraine is currently the second largest country in Eastern Europe (after Russia). It covers an area of 603,628 square kilometers and has a population of over 44.5 million people.
Ukraine shares land borders with 7 countries, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
The capital of Ukraine is Kiev, home to over 2.8 million people.
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, and it is the dominant language spoken in the western and central cities and in many rural areas of the country. Most Ukrainian speakers know Russian as a second language. In the eastern and southern cities Russian is the most widely spoken language.
The meaning of the name in Russian is "border country" or "border area" and in Ukrainian the origin is "country".
The highest point in Ukraine is on the mountain Hoverla, at 2,061 meters, which is located in the Carpathian Mountains. The only other mountain ranges are the Crimean Mountains in the south.
Ukraine is home to the Pysanky, which are decorated eggs. These decorated eggs are often considered to be Easter eggs, but the Ukrainians created these beautiful eggs even before the time of Christ.
As of 2011, Ukraine was the third largest exporter of grain in the world and was formerly called the bread basket of the Soviet Union. The country also has many natural resource deposits that include iron, coal, gas, oil, manganese and other metals.
The currency in Ukraine is called the hryvnia.
The most serious accident in a nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, took place in the Ukrainian town Pripyat.
The Jews living in Ukraine suffered greatly from riots in the 19th century, by antisemitic gangs. During the Holocaust, about 1.5 million Jews were murdered in Ukraine. One of the most notorious places during the Holocaust is Babi Yar, on the outskirts of Kiev, where some 50,000 Jews and another 100,000 people were captured by Soviet prisoners, the mentally ill, gypsies and civilians accused of disorderly conduct.
In Ukraine there are many interesting animals including foxes, lynxes, wolves, wild boar, martens, beavers, otters, hamsters and geese. Carp, dennis and catfish are the common fish species, while the large white pelicans are native to the southwestern regions.
Ukrainian Klitschko brothers, Vitaly and Wladimir, both held as world heavyweight boxing champions.
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