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Ukraine is one of the largest countries of Eastern Europe.
Ukraine occupies an area of 603,700 square kilometres. Its territory stretches for 893 kilometres from north to south and for 1,316 kilometres from east to west.
It has state borders with Russia, Belarus and Moldova. It also borders on Poland, Czehia, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. In the south it is washed by the Black and the Azov Seas.
The major part of Ukraine is flat and only 5 % of it is mountainous. The two mountainous areas in Ukraine are the Carpathians and the Crimean Mountains.
The geographical position of Ukraine is very favourable because the country lies on the crossroads of the ways from Asia to Europe.
Ukraine has deposits of iron, manganese, coal, natural gas, oil and other mineral resources. The main branches of industry are: coal and ore mining, iron and steel engineering, machine and ship building.
Besides, Ukraine has always been an agrarian country. Traditionally crop-growing and cattle-breeding are being developed.
Geographical Position of Ukraine
Ukraine is situated in the south-east of Europe.
The territory of Ukraine is 603,700 square kilometres. The territory of Ukraine is mostly flat. There are the Carpathian Mountains in the west and the Crimean Mountains in the south, but they are not high.
It borders on Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Czehia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
The main rivers are the Dnieper, the Dniester, the Bug, the Donets and others. The Dnieper is one of the longest European rivers and one of the main sources of hydroelectric power in the country.
The coasts of the Azov Sea and the Black Sea are good for ports. We have quite a lot of big sea ports, for example, Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Izmail, Mariupol and Kerch.
The geographical position of Ukraine is very favourable because the country lies on the crossroads of the ways from Asia to Europe. Since the times of Kyivan Rus Ukrainian roads have been used for trade contacts.
Due to favourable climatic conditions, Ukraine is traditionally an agricultural country. Wheat, maize and other corns, vegetables, all kinds of fruit are grown here.
The country is rich in natural resources, such as iron ore, coal, non-ferrous metals, oil, gas. It has developed a varied industry, concentrated mostly in and around big cities, such as Kyiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Kharkiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv and others.
Ukraine produces planes and ships, lorries and buses, electronic equipment and agricultural machines, TV and radio-sets and other goods.
Climate of Ukraine
Ukraine occupies the territory that is situated in the eastern part of Europe.
There are the Carpathian Mountains in the west and the Crimean Mountains in the south. Ukrainian territory is washed by the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. These factors influence the climate of Ukraine. It is mostly moderately continental.
But the Crimea differs greatly from the other parts of the territory. The climate there is subtropical. One can see the difference even in the average summer and winter temperatures. The average summer temperature is 21-22 degrees above zero, but it is usually 23-26 °С in the Crimea. The winter temperature in the Crimea is about 3 degrees above zero as the Crimean Mountains stop cold winds from the north.
The Carpathian Mountains differ from the rest of the Ukrainian territory in the amount of rains. The highest rainfall is noticed in this part. Summer is usually dry and hot in Ukraine, but in the Carpathians there often occur showers and thunderstorms. Sometimes storms bring hail, which is very unfavourable for agriculture.
Winter is usually mild, without severe frosts. Sleet is quite usual for Ukrainian cities and towns in winter. Still winter snow cover is typical for the climate of Ukraine except the southern part.
Fogs are not frequent in this country, but they may happen in autumn or spring.
Due to its favourable climatic conditions, such as winter snow cover, enough amount of rains and hot days during the summer, Ukraine is traditionally an agricultural country. It grows wheat, maize and other corns, vegetables and nearly all kinds of fruit.
Animals and Plants in Ukraine
Ukraine has mostly coniferous and deciduous trees. Such as pine, oak, fir, beech and birch. The wealth of the forest includes not only timber, but also berries, mushrooms and medical herbs.
The wildlife of Ukraine is different. It has hundreds of species of animals and birds. They are: wolf, fox, badger, deer, elk, hamster, field mouse and so on. The birds are: the sparrow, titmouse, grouse, owl.
Some fur animals, such as mink, silver-black fox, musk-rat, brought into Ukraine have aclimatized well.
In the rivers and lakes there are perch, bream, pike and carp. The Forest-Steppe zone contains the oak, elm, black poplar, willow, ash and pine. The animals include squirrels, foxes, hares and roes.
It also should be said that the animal life of the Carpathians is unique. Here you can find deer, brown bears, wild cats and pigs, black squirrels. Bird life includes golden eagles and black woodpeckers.. The plants of this region are also different and beautiful. It is well worth visiting. Especially in spring.
An Outstanding Event in Ukrainian History
There are such events in the life of every country that are kept through the passing centuries. Ukraine has a long history which reflects different stages of its historical development, numerous periods of its prosperity and decay.
For a long period our country lived under the rule of Poland, Lithuania and Russia. Ukraine formed part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under the name of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1922 to 1991.
On the 16th of July 1990 the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian republic adopted "The Declaration of the State Sovereignty of Ukraine".
Then on the 24th of August 1991 the Supreme Soviet adopted the "Act of the Independence of Ukraine". It was a document of a great historical importance. This document proclaimed the formation of the independent Ukrainian state. From the moment of adoption of this act only the laws of Ukraine remained in action. This historical decision was approved by the all-Ukrainian referendum which was held on the 1st of December 1991. The Ukrainian people confirmed their wish to live in the sovereign and independent country.
Thus a new period in the history of Ukraine started. It was the third attempt to achieve independence.
The first one was made by Bohdan Khmelnytsky in 1648 — 1654. The second one may be considered the proclamation of the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1917—1919.
An Episode from the History of Ukraine
I'd like to tell you about one of the episodes from the history of Ukraine.
During the war of independence of the Ukrainians in 1648-1654 the leaders of the war realized, that without the military help of Russia the complete victory over Poland is impossible. That's why in 1648 Bohdan Khmelnytsky appealed to Russia with the request to admit Ukraine as apart of Russia. The tsar's government started to give some military and economic help to Ukraine. In 1654 Khmelnytsky came to Pereyaslav, where he met Russian embassy headed by boyarin Buturlin. General Rada was convoked in the city square. All layers of the population participated in it. Khmelnytsky in his speech at Rada explained the necessity of the union of Ukraine and Russia. All the participants of Rada vowed fidelity to Russia. Buturlin handed to Khmelnytsky the tsar's order about the consent to admit Ukraine.
Political and judicial status of Ukraine was determined by the terms of the treaty — so called March articles. Khmelnytsky vowed fidelity in the cathedral. The population vowed in their towns and villages.
Economical, political and cultural relationships promoted the union. This union weakened the political role of Rech Pospolita, and defeated the plans of Vatican to catholicize Ukraine.
It assisted the further development of Ukrainian people.
Ukrainian Places of Interest
Ukraine is a country with the glorious past.
It is rich in historical monuments and different places of interest.
Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine and one of the oldest cities in the eastern Europe. It has already celebrated its 1500-th anniversary. That's why it is not surprising that a lot of interesting monuments are situated there, for example, the well-known to all Slavonic world St. Sophia's Cathedral and Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra. It is breathtaking to wander along the streets of the old town, to feel the breath of history.
But Ukrainian places of interest are situated not only in Kyiv. Near the small town of Kanev the monument to the Ukrainian national genius Taras Shevchenko is situated. The museum, where the books, drawings and manuscripts of Shevchenko are kept, is situated in the village not far from Kanev. Even the house, where he was born, is preserved. It is very interesting to look at it.
One may come to Poltava and visit the museum of the famous Poltava battle, the field where Peter the Great defeated the Swedes.
One may also go to Zaporizhia, to the island of Khortytsia, where the Ukrainian Cossacks organization was born.
One can go to Odesa and walk along the boulevards, where Pushkin walked a long time ago, and one can touch the trees, which Pushkin touched.
It is also possible to visit the last house of Chekhov (now the museum in Yalta), where Chekhov lived, and where he wrote his last works, and where he died.
One may visit the famous symbol of the Crimea — the castle "Swallow's Nest" or the residence of Russian tsars in Livadia.
It is possible to go through Gogol places in the Poltava region and see Dickanka, Sorochintsy.
One can continue this list, because there is also Western Ukraine with the Carpathians and their legends, feudals lords' castles and cathedrals, with their unique culture and nature.
There are a lot of places to see in Ukraine and to be proud of. And I am glad to live in such a country, with all those beautiful monuments.
Health Service in Ukraine
In Ukraine medical help is available in hospitals, polyclinics, and also in medical centres in such places as factories and schools.
Health service is based on local therapeutists as they are the first who diagnose. Some certain district is appointed to a polyclinic and this district is divided into several areas. Each area is appointed to a certain therapeutist. All the people who live in that area visit their appointed doctor. Average number of people, visiting their doctor every day, is 20-25, but when there is an epidemic of cold, this number is 50-60 people a day. There is some tendency which is nowadays widely discussed, that a person him- or herself can choose the doctor he or she wants to visit. A person can call his local therapeutist so that the doctor will come and see his patient. A therapeutist examines a patient, assigns some treatment, prescribes some medicines and gives a medical certificate.
In a hospital there is also a therapeutic department, where pneumonia, bronchitis or asthma are treated. There also exists a wide network of ambulance service in Ukraine. It was founded in Kharkiv in 1905.
Nowadays there are a lot of fee-paying clinics where one can get any kind of medical help. Many of them are specialized: dentist offices, optician centres, etc.
There also exist some medical associations in Ukraine, such as Ukrainian Diabetes Association. About 1 million people in Ukraine suffer from this disease. There people can get medical help or medicines free of charge.
Relations between Ukraine and English-Speaking Countries
There is no denying the fact that not so long ago Ukraine had very weak connections with other countries in the world. But at present the situation has changed for the better. As now Ukraine is a sovereign state, it establishes new relations with the countries throughout the world.
Ukraine is one of the members of the United Nations Organization and participates in the work of many international organizations. We have wide relations with Canada, the USA and Great Britain in policy, economics and culture. Foreign Embassies of these countries work in Kyiv.
We have some joint political projects with the United States of America and Canada. A lot of joint ventures have appeared in Ukraine recently. Such big plants of ours as Cherkasy joint-stock company "Azot", Gorlovka chemical plant "Stirol", Kharkiv aircraft plant sell their products at the international market.
Scientific cooperation is also very important. We have joint projects for space exploration with the USA and Canada.
Cooperation in culture, education and sport is very important, too. We exchange students and teachers with these countries. The Ukrainian orchestras, pop and opera singers, ballet dancers are warmly received abroad.
A lot of tourists from English-speaking countries visit Ukraine every year.
It's very important to mention that many people, who are Ukrainians by origin, live in Canada. So we have particular relations with this country. Canada was the first among the western states that recognized the state independence of Ukraine. Many of the Ukrainians, living now in Canada and other English-speaking countries, don't lose connections with Ukraine. A lot of public organizations, educational establishments, religious organizations make considerable contribution to the development of our culture, literature and art.
Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
Ukraine has different relations with many countries of the world. We have wide relations with Canada, the USA, Great Britain and other countries. Recently a great number of various joint ventures and economic, cultural and political projects have appeared in Ukraine. Our specialists in different scientific fields improve their qualification abroad.
We also have programmes of students' and schoolchildren's exchange. English, Canadian and American children visit Ukrainian families, go to Ukrainian schools, while Ukrainian children stay at their host families abroad. These exchange programmes help us to understand each other better, to study culture and traditions of other countries. A lot of Ukrainians have emigrated to Great Britain. That's why in 1947 the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain was founded. This association has some Help Funds that sponsor different important actions. The association gives help to the Ukrainian students who study in British Universities. The same associations and societies exist in many other countries.
From year to year the number of spheres of our relations with the countries abroad grow. Every year a lot of tourists visit Ukraine, while the Ukrainians go to the countries abroad. We hope that our relations with other countries will go on growing.