10 things about Ukraine vs. Russia
What you need to know:
- Ukraine and Russia are separate and independent countries.
- They both used to be republics of the Soviet Union, but that country doesn’t exist anymore since 1991.
- Ukraine is much smaller than Russia, although it’s still the largest country with the territory entirely in Europe. In other words, by territory Ukraine is larger than France or Germany.
- Russia is the largest country in the world. It’s transcontinental and covers the largest part of both Europe and Asia. (See the map below.)
- The population of Ukraine is about 42 million people. Population of Russian Federation is around 146 million people. Soviet Union, which united 15 republics, had the population of about 300 million people. Now all 15 republics are independent countries and not always friendly with each other. Some seek support of NATO and others align themselves with Russia.
- Russia and Ukraine used to be both members of CIS (Russian Commonwealth, established post-USSR).
- Since 2014 Ukraine and Russia are no longer friends. The reason for the conflict was Russia’s takeover of Crimea, a peninsula connected to Ukraine by land. The territory used to belong to Russia and was transferred to Ukraine in 1950s by an order of the Soviet government. Ukrainian government views the territory of Crimea as “temporarily occupied”.
- There is a sizable population of Russians in Ukraine. There are also millions of Ukrainians in Russia.
- Most Ukrainians, especially the older generation, can speak Russian. Youngsters may prefer Ukrainian. Until the end of 1990s Russian was the official language in Ukraine. Now it’s considered a “foreign language”.
- So, Ukraine is NOT in Russia.