With a total area of 603,700 km², Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia. Its territory includes the Crimean peninsula, which in 1991 went from being an oblast (an administrative division similar to the province) to being a constituent republic. Kiev is the capital and the main city.
Most of the surface of Ukraine is a vast plain, with an altitude generally less than 300 meters. The Carpathians extend to the extreme west of their territory, while the Crimean Mountains occupy the southern part of the peninsula of the same name. The highest peak in Ukraine is Mount Goverla (2,061 m), in the Carpathians. The most important rivers flow mainly in a southerly direction towards the Black Sea and are: the Dnieper in central Ukraine, the Southern Bug and the Dniester in the west, the Donets in the east and the Danube in the extreme south. However, the Western Bug runs north through the western part of the country and joins the Vistula, which empties into the Baltic Sea. Ukraine has extremely fertile black soils (chernozem) in the center and south of the country, occupying almost two-thirds of the territory.
As a country located in Europe according to HISTORYAAH, Ukraine is essentially a low plain. The only mountain formations are the foothills of the Carpathians to the west of the country, and the mountains of the Crimean peninsula. Its highest point is Mount Goverla, 2,061 meters high.
The plain is a continuation of the Great Russian Plain and is slightly inclined towards the Black Sea, although its gradient is so low that it can barely evacuate rainwater, which is why we find numerous lakes and swamps. Most are black lands, very fertile for cereal agriculture.
On this low plain, extensive slightly higher plateaus develop.
Ukraine tributes to the Baltic Sea to the north and the Black Sea to the south. The main rivers of Ukraine are the Dnieper (Dnipro), the Donéts, the Dniester and the Southern Bug. The Dniester and the Bug flood the western region of the country, the Dnieper the center and the Donets, which is a tributary of the Don, the east. Ukrainian rivers are slow and mighty, and navigable for most of their length.
The Dnieper River is born in Russia. It has a length of 2,290 km of which 1,900 km are navigable. Ukraine is responsible for the lower course of the river, slow and mighty. On its banks there are three important river ports: Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporozhie. The last 800 kilometers are an almost interrupted succession of reservoirs. At its mouth we find a large estuary. Its main tributary in Ukraine is the 1,130 km Desná River.
The Donets River is one of the main tributaries of the Don. It is 1,050 km long, and runs mostly in Ukraine.
The Dniester River is 1,352 km long. It is born near Lvov and empties into the Black Sea. Oats much of the west of the country.
The Southern Bug River, is born in the heights of Podolia, and empties into the Black Sea. It has a length of 806 km. Its importance lies in the intense commercial traffic of its route.
Ukraine has a humid continental climate, with very contrasting temperatures and the rainy season in summer. However, the shores of the Black Sea have a cold Mediterranean climate. The hottest month is July, in which the average temperature is over 25ºC. In winter the averages are between -8 ° C inland and north and 2 ° C on the Crimean coast. However, the Ukrainian shores of the Black Sea freeze in winter.
Rainfall decreases from north to south and from west to east. They are between 700 and 300 mm, although in the Carpathian mountains they rise up to 1,500 mm per year.
The typical forest of Ukraine is the mixed flatland and coniferous forest, although steppes and peat are most abundant in the worst-drained regions. We can find the temperate hardwood forest, in the subtypes of central Europe, in the north and northwest, Eastern Europe, in the center and northeast, Pannonia, in the extreme southwest and the sub-Mediterranean forest complex in southern Crimea. The temperate coniferous forest, in the Carpathian montane subtype, in the southwestern mountains, and the steppe prairie in the south and east of the country.
The serious accident at the Chernovil nuclear power plant has conditioned an enormous extension of the country around the city. These are areas that are polluted or with high levels of radiation in which about three million people live, suffering from deforestation and lack of drinking water.
Ukraine’s climate is temperate continental, while it is subtropical Mediterranean in the south of the Crimean peninsula; Average monthly temperatures in winter vary from –8 ° C to 2 ° C, and in summer they do between 17 ° C and 25 ° C.
The Black Sea coast is subject to frost and no Ukrainian port is permanently ice-free. Precipitation generally decreases towards the south: in the Carpathians it exceeds 1,500 mm a year, while in the lowlands of the Black Sea, it does not reach 300 mm a year.