Geographical Position of Ukraine
Ukraine is situated in the south-east of Europe. It borders on Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The area of Ukraine is 603,700 sq. km. 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. The main rivers are the Dnieper, the Dniester, the Buh, 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.
The climate of Ukraine
The climate of Ukraine is determined by its geographical location. Ukraine’s territory lies in the temperate belt and its climate is temperately continental, only the southern coast of the Crimea is subtropical. The climate of Ukraine is characterized by considerable variations due to the great range from north to south and from west to east, stretching from the areas under the influence of the north-western Atlantic to the interior of the continent. This means that the air temperature decreases not only from north to south but also from west to east. The characteristic features of the climate are higher summer temperatures, lower winter temperatures, and rare rainfalls.
The Ukrainian climate has considerable fluctuation in weather conditions from year to year. Alongside very wet years there can be droughts, and alongside cold years there are warm years.
The Black and the Azov seas have small influence on the climate and it’s felt only in coastal areas. The warmest region is nearby the Black Sea, the coldest — in the north-east and in the mountains. The southern coast of Crimea is subtropical. Crimean mountains obstruct the movement of cold Arctic air to the coast and create conditions for one of the best resort areas in Ukraine.
The average yearly temperature in Ukraine varies between +5..+7 C in the north and +11..+13 C in the south. January is the coldest month and July is the hottest one.
In general Ukraine can be divided into four different climatic regions: cool snow forest climate, steppe climate, Mediterranean climate and mountain tundra climate.
Plants and animal
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 animal world 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. The rivers and lakes are home to ducks, geese, storks and cranes. 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 wood peckers. The plants of this region are also different and beautiful. It is well worth visiting, especially in spring.
The population of Ukraine is 48,396,470 (July 2002 est.) people, which represents about 18% of the population of the former Soviet Union. Ukrainians make up about 73% of the total; ethnic Russians number about 22%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and the urban population makes up about 70% of the population. Ukrainian and Russian are the principal languages, but about 88% of the population consider Ukrainian their native language.
During the Soviet period, Russian was the required language of government administration and public life. In 1991 Ukrainian once again became the official language, though in the Crimea, where there is a Russian-speaking majority, Russian is the official language. In addition, primary and secondary schools using Russian as the language of instruction still prevail in the Donets Basin and other areas with large Russian minorities. Ukrainian—belonging to the East Slavic language family that also includes Russian and Belarusian—uses a form of the Cyrillic alphabet. It is closely related to Russian, and the two languages are mutually intelligible. Significant minorities speak Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Bulgarian, or Hungarian.
The dominant religions are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, much of which retains its links to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate) is independent of Moscow.
The birth rate of Ukraine is diminishing. About 70% of adult Ukrainians have a secondary or higher education. Ukraine has about 150 colleges and universities, of which the most important are at Kiev, Lviv, and Kharkiv. About 70,000 scholars in 80 research institutes make Ukraine a leader in science and technology.
Ukraine is mainly flat topography: 95% of the land are plain, only 5% of the land is mountainous.
Plain. The flat area of the country is part of the East European Plain. The lowlands occupy 70%, and the hill - 25% of the land. Elevation of the plain part of Ukraine over the sea level is an average of 175 m.
Mountains. In the west there are the Ukrainian Carpathians (the highest point - Mount Goverla, 2061 m) in the south of the Crimean peninsula - the Crimean mountains (highest point - Mount Roman-Kosh, 1,545 m). Ukrainian, or Eastern, Carpathians, Carpathian large part of the system. This is a young medium-height mountains formed in the era of the Alpine orogeny.
River. The largest river - the Dnipro. Other major rivers - the Danube and Southern Bug. The largest reservoir - Kremenchug, Kakhovske, Dneprodzerzhinskoe, Kiev and Kanevskoe.
Soil. 2 / 3 soil of Ukraine - black earth. According to experts, in the territory of Ukraine is the world's fourth black soil.
Form 8 –A