• Population: 42.2 million (2018), down from 46.2 million (2008)
    • Younger than 15 yo: 15.4%
    • 65+ yo: 16.2%
  • Languages: Ukrainian (official), Russian
    • Few people speak English.
    • A significant minority of the population uses Russian as its first language, particularly in the industrialised east.
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 67 years (men), 77 years (women) (Increasing)
  • Currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)


  • Area: 603,700 sq km (233,090 sq miles)
    • Europe’s second largest country.


  • Ukraine is ranked the second poorest country in Europe
  • Corruption is widespread. Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country in 120th place out of 180 countries. [Wikipedia]
  • Kiev, the capital city, is a very inexpensive city
  • Ukraine is off the beaten trail. Consequently, it is not the easiest country to get around in for the independent traveller
  • A land of wide, fertile agricultural plains, with large pockets of heavy industry in the east.


  • English is not widely spoken in Ukraine
  • The concept of customer service hasn’t caught on in Kiev’s shops, restaurants and hotels
  • Kiev boasts about 950 places of worship
    • St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery reopened in 1999
    • World heritage-listed St Sophia’s Cathedral is the oldest church in Kiev
  • Kiev’s main thoroughfare, Khreshchatyk Street, is closed to traffic on weekends
    • Great for exploring the sights
  • Chernobyl is a two-hour drive north of Kiev and is itself 15km away from ground zero: the ghost town of Pripyat, where on April 26, 1986, nuclear reactor overheated and exploded.
  • Unfortunately, handsome 18th and 19th century buildings – the kind that would be restored in other places – have been left to decay


  • Winters in Kiev are brutally cold
    • The streets icy or buried under snowdrifts

Safety & Security

  • In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula which Ukraine and the greatest section of the international community recognize to be part of Ukrainian territory.
    • Eastern Ukraine (along the Russian border) is considered one of the world’s most dangerous destinations for travellers. (2019)

News about Ukraine