• 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

This page was last updated on 2021.03.18 by Robert Vinet