Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна, romanized: Ukrayina, pronounced [ʊkrɐˈjinɐ] (listen); Russian: Украина, tr. Ukraina, IPA: [ʊkrɐˈinə]) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and north-east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west; and Romania, Moldova, and the Black Sea to the south. Ukraine also borders the Crimean Peninsula to its south, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, though Ukraine still continues to claim the territory. Including the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the second-largest country by area in Europe after Russia, and the 46th-largest country in the world. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42 million, making it the seventh or eighth-most populous country in Europe, and the 32nd-most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kyiv. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy.
The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kyivan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917, a Ukrainian national movement for self-determination emerged and the internationally recognized Ukrainian People's Republic was declared on 23 June 1917. After World War II the Western part of Ukraine merged into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the whole country became a part of the Soviet Union as a single state entity. Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but most sources have since moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses.