1. Russia excluded, UKRAINE IS THE CONTINENT’S LARGEST COUNTRY at 233,062 square miles, stretching from Russia in the east to Poland in the west. France is next at 213,010 square miles.
2. IT’S NOT THE UKRAINE. The Ukraine is incorrect both grammatically and politically. The use of the article relates to the time before independence in 1991, when Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Since then, it should be merely Ukraine.
3. UKRAINE WAS ONCE KNOWN AS THE BREADBASKET OF EUROPE, owing to its large agricultural industry. 25 % of black soil worldwide is found in Ukraine. This title caused the country immense hardship when it became responsible for feeding the Soviet Union under Stalin. Collectivization and unobtainable grain targets were the main causes of the Great Famine, otherwise known as Holodomor, which in 1932 and 1933 killed as many as 7.5 million Ukrainians. The famine is considered a genocidal act by 25 countries, including Ukraine, Australia and Canada.
4. CHORNOBYL IS THE SITE OF THE WORLD’S WORST NUCLEAR POWER PLANT DISASTER. The location in northern Ukraine is now the center of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, established by the USSR soon after the accident in 1986. Radiation levels remain still dangerously high.
5. UKRAINE IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE BIGGEST PLANE EVER BUILT, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, a cargo plane. It has the largest wingspan of any aircraft, at 88.4 meters and weighs 706 US tons.
6. After the breakup of the Soviet Union (1991), UKRAINE INHERITED THE THIRD LARGEST NUCLEAR ARSENAL IN THE WORLD. In 1994 Ukraine agreed to destroy the weapons, and to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to provide Ukraine with security assurances in connection with its accession to the NPT. The four parties signed the memorandum that granted respect to the independence, sovereignty, and existing borders of Ukraine.
7. THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE AS A NATION APPEARED AT THE TIME OF KYIVAN RUS, the major Slavic state on the grounds of modern Ukraine, with Kyiv as its capital, IN THE 9TH CENTURY. Moscow was founded more than 200 years later in 1147 by a prince of Kyivan royal origin.
8. KYIV NOT KIEV. Ukraine’s capital Kyiv should be spelled KYIV according to the rules of transliteration from Ukrainian. “Kiev” is transliteration from Russian. Ukrainian and Russian are different languages.
9. UKRAINIAN IS THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF UKRAINE. It takes the 26th place among the most widespread languages in the world due to the number of its speakers, and is the second most widespread Slavic language after Russian. The Ukrainian language utilizes the Cyrillic alphabet, developed in the 9th century by disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
10. CAROL OF THE BELLS, a Christmas song people around the world hear and sing yearly, ORIGINALLY WAS IN UKRAINIAN. It was written by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych. Peter J. Wilhousky adapted its lyrics, following the original performance by the Ukrainian National Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 1921.