Ukraine Geography, Population and Language

By | December 24, 2021

Ukraine Eastern European state, bordered to the North and E with Russia, again to the North with Belarus, to the South with Romania and Moldavia, to the SW with Hungary, to the West with Slovakia and Poland ; it also overlooks the Black Sea for a large stretch.

Physical characteristics

Most of the territory consists of a plain made up of the lower basin of the Dnieper river, which stretches out between small reliefs: to the West the Podolic Shelf and the hills that take their name from the river (which, while describing a loop around it, he engraves them in part in the easternmost sector), at E le Alture del Donez. They are geologically ancient surveys, both of which have already reached the current morphological structure during the Hercynian orogeny of the Paleozoic; in the former, however, prevailing formations of crystalline rocks preceding those of the latter. Taken as a whole, they are not elevated hills and with rounded summit shapes. From the southern slopes of these systems the Bug and the Dnestr, along which the border with Moldova passes. At the eastern end of the territory, the Donez Heights take their name from the river that collects most of its waters, and then heads E, where it flows into the Don. AS the Ukraine it overlooks the Black Sea and the Azov Sea, the second dependence of the first, from which it is separated by the Crimean peninsula.

The thermal regime presents a fair annual excursion, with winter averages below −5 ° C, while in summer it commonly remains above 20 ° C. The rainfall, which on the coast is about 650 mm (Mediterranean-type regime, with prevalence in winter), decreases in the central part of the territory (up to about 400 mm), and then increases further inland, where it reaches the maximum (over 900 mm, with mainly summer rains): this is explained by the fact that, as regards humidity, the area is more subject to Atlantic influence than to that of the Black Sea; however low, in fact, the reliefs come a short distance from the coastal selvedge of the latter, limiting its influence on the climate. The northern regions (Volinia, Polessia and Podolia), which feel more influenced by the winds coming from the Atlantic, abound in forests, and there is no shortage of marshy areas.

The spontaneous vegetation sees the clear prevalence of forests to the N (pines, birches, oaks), a wide intermediate belt of wooded steppes and a large extension of steppes to the South and in the center. The soils are podsolic in the forest area, while in the intermediate belt the black soils (černozëm), particularly fertile, are widespread, which towards the south are progressively replaced by brown soils, which are also very productive. For Ukraine geography, please check


The population is made up largely of Ukrainians (78.1%), largely the majority in the Ukraine western, while in some large cities of the east and south the Russians are predominant (17.3%). In particular, in the Crimea the Russians, that the government of Kiev two thirds of the population are suspected of separatist tendencies. Finally, there are minorities of Tatars (0.7%), Belarusians (0.6%), Moldavians (0.5%), Jews (0.2%). Since the 1990s, the Ukrainian population has progressively shrunk, losing over 6 million units (14% less than in the early 1990s). The decrease is mainly due to particularly low birth rates (9.6 ‰ in 2009), far from compensating for the very high mortality rates (15.8 ‰). Added to this is a negative migratory balance linked, on the one hand, to the return of Russian communities to their homeland after the independence of the Ukraine at the time of Stalin); on the other hand, to an underground one and, more often than not, illegal migration to Western European countries. The urban population is close to 70% of the total and the capital is by far the most populous city, which is followed by Kharkiv ; over one million are also Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa, while Doneck is over 900,000 residents and Zaporož´ and Lviv are over 700,000. The settlement showed a tendency towards urbanization at the end of the Tsarist period, with the beginning of the great mining exploitation, and the process continued with the industrialization following the Soviet revolution.

The only official language has been Ukrainian since 1989, but in several areas of the country a Ukrainian-Russian bilingualism has in fact established itself. The prevalent religion is Orthodox Christian (29.2%) with Catholic, Protestant and Jewish minorities; over 57% of the Ukrainian population declare themselves non-religious.


Language of Ukraine, according to the classical tripartite division, belongs, together with Russian and Belarusian, to the East Slavic language group. It is the second Slavic language by number of speakers (46 million, to which must be added the large number of Ukrainians emigrating). Its main characteristics at a phonological level are: the outcome i of ě (jat): for example, dilo “what” from the Paleoslavian dělo ; the passage of o and e to i in closed syllable after the fall of the final semivowel: nis «naso» from nošu, lid «ice» from ledŭ ; the vowelsetymological i and e that do not cause palatalization; the okanie or the clear pronunciation [o] of o unstressed: ucr. hovoriti ‹ hovorìti › «to speak», Russian govorit ´ ‹ gavarìt ‘ ›; at the morphological level, the form in -ja of the nominative sing. neutral paleoslavian in -je: pisannja “writing” from pisanje ; the mark of infinity in -ti: hovoriti ; the form of the sing. of male subject in -v: pitav “I asked” from pitalŭ. Numerous syntactic and lexical polonisms due to the Polish influence of the 16th century. 16 ° -17 °. After ups and downs, Ukrainian became the national literary language in the early 19th century.

Language of Ukraine