The administrative divisions of Ukraine are subnational administrative divisions within the geographical area of Ukraine under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Constitution. Ukraine is a unitary state with four tiers of subnational government: (1) oblasts or regions (mostly), (2) raions or districts, (3) city councils and (4) rural councils.
The first tier consists of 27 subdivisions, of which there are 24 oblasts, one autonomous republic (Crimea) and 2 cities with special status (Kyiv and Sevastopol). The second tier includes (since July 2020) 136 raions.
Ukraine directly inherited its administrative divisions from the local republican administration of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the overall structure did not change significantly from the middle of the 20th century until reforms of July 2020; it was somewhat complex, as beside having several tiers of a territorial subdivision, it had a classification for various populated places, particularly cities. The 2020 reforms, while retaining the first-level structure, radically reduced the second tier from 490 raions and 118 "cities of regional significance" to just 136 raions, with the "cities of regional significance" merging into the reformed raions.
Following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol came under the de facto administration of the Russian Federation, which claims them as the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. Internationally, most states have not recognised the Russian claims.
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According to Article 133 of the Constitution of Ukraine, "the system of the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine is composed of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblasts, districts, cities, districts in city, settlements, and villages." Certain types of subdivision are not mentioned in the Constitution (i.e. rural settlements), but they are mentioned for regional composition. Also, regular raions (districts) are sometimes denoted as rural to distinguish them from raions in cities.
Ukraine's administrative divisions are divided as follows:
- By geographical characteristics the units are divided on regions (such as autonomous republic, oblasts, districts, cities with special status) and places of settlement (cities, towns, villages).
- By their status they can be administrative-territorial units (oblasts and districts), self-governed territorial units (cities, towns, villages). Also the autonomous republic has a unique status of territorial autonomy, while districts in cities combine both characteristics of administrative territorial as well as self-governed territorial units.
- By position in the system of administrative division, the units divided into territorial units of prime level (cities w/o district division, districts in cities, towns, villages), of middle level (districts, cities with district division), and of higher level (autonomous republic, oblasts, cities with special status).
- Administrative division has changed because some territories are not under the control of the government. For example, Sievierodonetsk has become the new central regional center.
Regions, cities, districts are governed by a state administration, a chief of which is appointed by the president after a nomination by the cabinet of ministers. Crimea has its own cabinet of ministers, however the state administration is represented by the office of the Presidential Representative of Ukraine. A basic and the lowest level of administrative division is a settlement that is governed by a local council (rada). Cities as a settlement always carry a special status within a region and have their own form of self-administration (municipality – vykonkom) and some may consist of their own city's districts (raions). City municipalities are governed by a mayor and a city council (miskrada). Some smaller cities, towns, and rural localities may be under control of city municipalities based on larger cities. Towns as well as villages are not controlled by state administration and are self-governed by either a town council (selyshchna rada) or a village council (silrada) within the limits of the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine (article 140 of the Constitution of Ukraine). Village councils may carry a combined jurisdiction which may include several villages and hamlets (selyshche). Unlike villages, each town council always has a separate jurisdiction which may be part of bigger city's council. Hamlet (selyshche) is a non-governed rural locality and is governed by a village council of nearby village.
Ukraine was divided into three main levels of administrative divisions: oblast (region), raion (district), and council (city, settlement, and village). Settlements such as cities did not necessary constitute the basic level of the administrative territorial system. For that purpose cities were categorized into own three categories that correspond to each level of subdivisions. Cities with special status and regional significance, beside being divided into special districts in those cities, may also have included smaller cities (of district significance), settlements, and/or villages. The settlement's population size was not the only factor for its status. The final decision on status change was made by the Ukrainian parliament. The following table is based on the 2001 Ukrainian Census.
|Level of division||Territory||Total||Corresponding settlements||Total||Total urban/rural|
|1 (regions)||autonomous republic||1||cities with special status[a]||2||1,344|
|2 (regional subdivisions)||[rural] districts[c]||490||cities of regional significance[d]||178|
|[urban] districts in cities||118|
|3 (communities)[e]||city councils||454||cities of district significance||274|
|settlement councils[f]||783||individual urban-type settlements[g]||890|
|village councils||10,278||individual villages||27,190||28,621|
- Top level (Regions, 27):
- Middle level (Regional subdivision, 786):
- Primary level (Local communities, 11,515):
- Cities of raion significance (276)
- Urban-type settlements (селища міського типу) (885)
- Villages (села) (27,190)
- Rural-type settlements (селища) (1,266)
Total cities: 454, an increase of 20 compared with the 1989 census.
In the 2020 administrative reform, all populated places in Ukraine (except for two cities with special status: Kyiv and Sevastopol) were resubordinated to raions (districts). The new figure of 136 raions includes 10 in the Crimean region (though they are not presently functional) and Sevastopol.
|Level of subdivision||Territory||Total|
|cities with special status||2|
In 1932 the territory of the Ukrainian SSR was re-established based on oblasts. Excluded in the administrative changes was Western Ukraine, which at that time formed part of the Second Polish Republic and shared in the Polish form of administrative division based on voivodeships.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea obtained the status of an autonomous republic with its own government instead of a regional state administration.
- The top level: duchy (land) → palatinate (voivodeship) → regiments (polk) / palanka → governorate → okruha → oblast → TBD
- The intermediate level: apanage duchy → county (povit) / eldership (starostvo) → hundred (sotnia) → raion → county (povit)
- The local level: volost → kurin / community (hromada) → volost → city council (rada) → community (hromada)
First-level administrative divisionsEdit
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, formerly the Crimean Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR, geographically encompasses the major portion of the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine. Its capital is Simferopol. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is the only region within Ukraine that has its own constitution.
On 16 March 2014, after the occupation of Crimea by the Russian military, a referendum on joining the Russian Federation was held. A majority of votes supported the measure. On 21 March 2014, the Russian Duma voted to annex Crimea as a subject into the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian government does not recognize the referendum or annexation of Crimea as legitimate. On 27 March, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 68/262 by 100 to 11 votes, recognizing the referendum as invalid and denying any legal change in the status of Crimea and Sevastopol.
|No. of raions
|Cities of regional|
Oblasts are on the first (top) level of the administrative division of Ukraine.
All but four oblasts are named after their administrative center. Volyn' and Zakarpattia, whose respective capitals are Lutsk and Uzhhorod, are named after the historic regions Volhynia and Transcarpathia. The administrative centers of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and the Kirovohrad Oblast were renamed to Dnipro and Kropyvnytskyi in 2016, however as of 2017 the oblasts still officially bear the old soviet names as their change must be reflected in an amendment to the Ukrainian Constitution.
The table below reflects changes made in 2020.
|No. of |
Cities with special statusEdit
Two cities have special status: Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine) and Sevastopol. Their special status puts them on the same administrative level as the oblasts, and thus under the direct supervision of the state via their respective local state administrations, which constitute the executive bodies of the cities.
Kyiv owes its special status to being the administrative center of the country, which grants it both additional powers and responsibilities. Sevastopol's special status was carried over from the Soviet era, and was due to the city being the historical headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet. Following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Sevastopol is controlled by Russia and is incorporated as a federal subject of Russia. It is recognized as a part of Ukraine by most of the international community.
|Kyiv||Vitali Klitschko[nb 3]||839 km2 (323.9 sq mi)||2,782,016||2,962,180|
|Sevastopol||vacant||1,079 km2 (416.6 sq mi)||380,301||509,992|
Second-level administrative unitsEdit
Raions are smaller territorial units of subdivision in Ukraine. There are 136 raions. Following the December 2019 draft constitutional changes submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by President Volodymyr Zelensky, united territorial communities (136 new raions) have replaced the former 490 raions of Ukraine.
Cities of regional significance (regional cities)Edit
Following the 2020 administrative changes, all the former cities of regional significance have been absorbed into the revised system of 136 districts.
Third-level administrative unitsEdit
|Status||Status (in Ukrainian)||Total Number (in 2006)|
|misto / city||місто||457|
|municipality||місто зі спеціальним статусом||2|
|misto оblastnoho znachennia||місто областного значення||176|
|misto raionnoho znachennia||місто районного значення||279|
|selyshche miskoho typu / town||селище міського типу||886|
|selo / village||сільський населений пункт||28,552|
Ukraine has two types of settlements: rural and urban. Rural populated areas (сільський населений пункт) can be either a village (село, selo) or a rural settlement (селище). Urban populated areas (міський населений пункт) can be either a city (містo) or an urban-type settlement (селище міського типу). For the sake of brevity, urbanized settlements are sometimes classified as towns in the English language.
Changes to a settlement's status can be made only by the Verkhovna Rada. The size of a settlement does not ultimately define its status, although is a major factor. For example, the city of Prypiat still retains its status, while having a population of zero, due to its infrastructure, including buildings, roads, and utility networks.
The typical Ukrainian misto ought to be considered a city, not a town (compare to City status in the United Kingdom). However, the city's subordination to either an oblast or raion also should be taken into account, especially in the political sense. Some of urbanized settlements may be cities of raion subordination, although it could seem confusing, a type of settlement should be considered first as its status is given for administrative purposes.
According to Ukrainian law a city (місто) in Ukraine is a locality of at least 10,000 people. Cities may carry various status. Some may be of national importance, others of regional (oblast) importance, and the rest of district (raion) importance. For example, the cities of Kyiv and of Sevastopol have special status of national significance and each is officially classified as a city with a special status, which administratively is equivalent to an oblast. Mayors of those cities, in general, as are governors of oblasts, are appointed by the President of Ukraine. However, the status of the mayor of Kyiv is somewhat more complex, and for further information see Legal status and local government of Kyiv. The status of Sevastopol is also unique.
Almost every oblast has at least one city of regional subordination (importance), which is the administrative center (capital) of that oblast. However, some other big cities within the oblast may have such status as well. The cities of oblast subordination have the same importance of a raion, and often are the administrative centers of such. In addition to regular raions, several Ukrainian cities with national or oblast status are further divided into city raions which may include other cities, towns, and/or villages. In 2010, Ukraine had 23 such cities with their own city raions.
Many raions also have city municipalities of its level of subordination (importance). Those are usually the administrative centers (capitals). Notice that not all raions have a city as their administrative center; however all the raion centers are at least urban-like (urbanized). All administrative centers have their own form of self-administration. The municipalities of a raion subordination may administer several adjacent local councils (municipalities), usually rural. If a raion has several cities of raion (district) level, they may share administrative power for the raion.
In addition to city municipalities, Ukraine has urban-like municipalities. The lowest form of self-administration are the rural municipalities and villages. A rural municipality may consist of a single village, usually big, or a combination of other rural villages or localities. Note that some villages also have some additional, very small settlements. Those settlements, together with the home village, combine a local (rural) municipality (silrada). For simplicity's sake, a silrada (rural municipality) is usually referred to as a village and is the lowest level of administrative division. The status of any settlement is granted by the Verkhovna Rada.
The amalgamated hromadas (Ukrainian: Об'єднана територіальна громада, Obyednana terytorialʹna hromada) are part of administrative reform that started in 2015. It is intended to replace all councils (local level territorial units). In his draft constitutional amendments of June 2014 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko proposed changing the administrative divisions of Ukraine, which should include regions, districts and "hromadas".
On 5 February 2015, the law "On voluntary association of territorial communities" was adopted creating united territorial communities meaning settlement councils, rural councils and a city of district significance can create a new administrative unit. Any amalgamated hromada with a city as an administrative centre is an urban hromada, any amalgamated hromada with an urban-type settlement as an administrative centre is a settlement hromada, and any amalgamated hromada with a village as an administrative centre is a rural hromada. New local elections in these united territorial communities were then held. 226 will be holding elections in 2018 and 2019. The first 252 were held in 2017.
The Law "On Local Self-Government in Ukraine" stipulates that local budgets should have enough money to be administered by local self-government bodies. Because many of the small rural councils and cities of district significance could never hope to do this the new administrative unit amalgamated hromada was created.
Ukraine also has several settlements known as viiskove mistechko which were former military installations. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the secrecy of such settlements has been unveiled, however, the towns are subordinated directly to the Ministry of Defense and do not have their own civil administrations. Such military installations are like ghost towns that are not even identified on a map. One of them, on the border of the Kyiv and Zhytomyr Oblasts is Makarov-1.
A special territory known as the zone of alienation falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Emergencies and was the most severely affected territory by the Chernobyl disaster. Additionally, various restricted nature preserves known as Zapovednik fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Ecology.
Due to the Russo-Ukrainian War, the status of civil–military administrations was created in territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts where the respective local government units cannot exercise their constitutionally guaranteed powers.
Currently, Ukraine has the following three enclaves:
- The city of Slavutych which is administratively subordinated directly to Kyiv Oblast while being completely surrounded by neighboring Chernihiv Oblast.
- The settlement of Bile which is located on Snake Island and is fully surrounded by the Black Sea was established in 2007 and is part of the Vylkove urban hromada, Odesa Oblast.
- The town of Kotsiubynske which is part of the Kyiv Oblast and is completely surrounded by the city of Kyiv.
Ukraine has seven major agglomerated metropolitan areas (conurbations). These conurbation areas are not officially recognized and remain to be administered according to official oblast-raion system of subdivision. Some of them are:
- Kyiv includes towns such as Irpin, Boryspil, and Fastiv
- Kharkiv includes towns such as Chuhuiv, Merefa, and numerous other settlements
- Donetsk includes towns such as Makiivka, Khartsyzk, and others
- Dnipro with Kamianske and Novomoskovsk
- Odssa with Chornomorsk and Ovidiopol
Beside the administrative divisions, geographical divisions are at times used for reference or statistical purposes. The division splits Ukraine into four to six geographic areas: Western Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, Southern Ukraine, Central Ukraine, Northern Ukraine (occasionally used).
- City municipalities that were administrated as a separate region.
- Often translated as province
- Normally identification of rural was not used with raions, while for disambiguation districts in cities were identified with those cities.
- Regional municipalities may have included cities of oblast or republican (in case of Crimea) significance.
- small municipalities (councils)
- Often, the identification of "urban" with "settlement" was not used and raised some ambiguity with smaller rural settlements.
- Also referred to as towns.
- Normally identification of rural was not used.
- Districts, without accounting for districts in cities
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