About Ukraine

Ukraine is the largest European country that extends from the high Carpathian Mountains to the warm Black Sea. This is the country with fertile lands, large rivers and industrious people. This is an innovative country that bestowed the world with plenty of wonderful inventions and technologies that change the world for the better. This is the country that has always been an integral part of Europe in terms of geography, culture and spirit. Today, it dreams of joining European community both politically and from security perspectives.

The first historical state of Ukrainians was the Kyivan Rus, which was the largest country during the medieval Europe. Occupying the territory from the Baltic to the Black Sea, Kyivan Rus was expanding and growing rich through trade. This was possible because Western European, Mediterranean, Hanseatic, Byzantine, Arab, Persian merchants were able to come to Kyiv and do business together. Kyivan Rus reached its greatest might during the reign of Prince Volodymyr the Great and Yaroslav the Wise. During Volodymyr’s reign the country adopted Christianity. At the same time, Yaroslav was well known as a founder of science and education. He was the “father-in-law” of Europe — his daughters became queens of the leading European countries — France, Hungary and Nordic states.

After Yaroslav, Kyivan Rus split into several dozen principalities. Back then, all European countries were similarly split. However, it was the Ukrainian land that faced the greatest threat of that time — the Mongol invasion. Ukrainian lands were bleeding, hundreds of Ukrainian towns were burnt down to the ground, and many people were killed or captured by countless hordes of Genghis Khan and his grandson Batu Khan. Much of the Ukrainian land became the so-called Wild Field. But the courage of Ukrainian warriors repelled the conquerors — the Mongols have never reached Western or Central Europe.

Several hundred years later, most of the Ukrainian lands became part of Central European countries — Poland, Hungary and Lithuania. At the end of the XV century right in the middle of the Wild Field the Zaporizhian Sich emerges — a republic of free men, which took the responsibility to defend the Ukrainian people from foreign oppression and conquerors. In 1649, about 150 years later after the Sich was created, an independent Ukrainian state — Zaporizhian Army (also known as Cossack Hetmanate) — appeared on the world map. Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky became its leader. Ukrainian Cossack army was the best in Europe, and higher education institutions of Cossack Hetmanate, such as Ostroh and Kyiv-Mohyla Collegiums (later — Academies) were offering excellent education.

Ukrainian land has always attracted insatiable conquerors. Therefore, Cossack Hetmanate could not last long. Undermined by internal strife and external aggressive encroachments of powerful neighbors, at the end of the XVIII century, Ukrainian lands were divided between the two empires — the Russian and the Austrian. It was this rich land that the two empires fought over in the First World War that destroyed both of them.

In 1917–1920, Ukraine was independent. Its statehood was recognized by a number of European countries, including the Soviet Russia. However, its northern neighbor did not renounce takeover attempts and unleashed a “hybrid war“ against Ukraine having occupied most of the country forcing it to join the Soviet Union.

Holodomor of 1932–1933 and Stalin’s Terror were the revenge of the Soviet totalitarian regime for the Ukrainian fight for independence. Holodomor alone killed nearly 4 million people. Totalitarianism tried to eradicate Ukrainian peasantry and intelligentsia and destroy their historical memory — Kyivan Rus, the Cossacks and a blue-yellow flag. Nazi invaders were using the same predatory practices in Ukraine in 1941–1944.

Therefore, when the Soviet Union began to fall under the pressure of its imperialist nature and economic problems, in 1991 Ukraine withdrew from it and became independent. During the next 22 years, Ukraine was peacefully developing, paving its tortuous way to its European dream. When the fourth Ukrainian president decided to steal this dream and sold Ukraine to Putin, Euromaidan erupted. Several months of confrontation between the government and opposition ended with the shooting down of peaceful protesters in the center of the Ukrainian capital by armed police officers loyal to the authoritarian regime. The latter was removed from power by the will of the Ukrainian people. Now the people refer to those fallen in this fight as the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred.

The revolution won. However, Russia immediately began the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and orchestrated a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. Subsequently, this mutiny escalated into a bloody Russian-Ukrainian war that continues to this day. Russia spends a lot of money each day on this war and pays with lives of its men pursuing one goal — not to allow Ukraine to become a free and European country and to destroy Ukrainian statehood.

There is no free Europe without free Ukraine; therefore, the fate of the continent is being decided in Ukraine.