Ukraine Overview


Ukraine lies in the European-continental area of ​​the warm-temperate climate zone, with the exception of the south coast of the Crimea, which has a subtropical-continental climate. Characteristic is the continentality increasing from northwest to southeast, with which the summers are warmer and the amounts of precipitation are lower, while the winter cold increases from the west and south to the north and east. In general, winters (mean January temperatures between −7 ° C and −8 ° C in the northeast and 0 to −1 ° C in the Crimea; on the south coast of Crimea 2–4 ​​° C) are as long as in Central Europe. Winter snowpacks of 10–20 cm (decreasing from north to south) that form north of the Black Sea lowlands last for 2.5–3 months; more snow falls in the mountains. The summers are warm (mean July temperatures between 18 ° C in the north and 22-23 ° C in the south; on the south coast of Crimea 24 ° C), hot in the southeastern half of the country and dry in the steppe zone. There, but also further north, dry periods of 1–2 months occur every 2–3 years, often caused by dry winds and Dust storms are accompanied. The mean annual rainfall amounts to 600 mm in the west of the country and only 300 mm in the south; in the ridge area of ​​the Forest Carpathians 1,500–2,000 mm of precipitation falls, in the Crimean Mountains 800–1 100 mm and on the south coast of the Crimea 300–600 mm. In central Ukraine, heavy rains are frequent in summer. Visit for Europe climate.


Based on the natural vegetation, Ukraine has a share of three vegetation zones. In the north between the rivers Western Bug and Desna there is the mixed forest zone, between the northern Subcarpathian and the Kirowohrad – Poltava line (in a southwest-northeast direction) the forest- steppe zone and to the south or southeast of it the steppe zone; in the Carpathians and in the Crimean Mountains there are special vegetation conditions. Large parts of all three zones, especially the forest steppe and steppe, were cultivated. The original flora, including the rich steppe flora, can only be found in protected areas (nature reserve Polesia, Askanija-Nowa). Forests are particularly widespread in the mountains and in Polesia, which is rich in bogs and lakes; they cover 17% of the country’s area.

About 2% of the total area is without vegetation; this is mainly a result of mining and industry, which have led to considerable landscape destruction and environmental damage, for example around Krywyj Rih and in the Donets coal basin. In addition, the regions that were affected by the Chernobyl reactor accident cannot be used or can only be used to a limited extent.


At the regional level, Ukraine is divided into 24 regions (oblasti) and the cities of Kiev and Sevastopol, which are directly subordinate to the republic. Crimea, inhabited mainly by Russians (almost two thirds), Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, which was granted the status of an autonomous republic in April 1992, with its own parliament (with limited legislature) and its own government (executive), has a special position. In March 2014, Crimea, including the city of Sevastopol, was annexed to the Russian Federation in violation of international law.

Administrative division in Ukraine

Administrative units (2015)
Oblast Area (1,000 km 2) Pop. (1 000) Residents (per km 2)
Republic of Crimea 1) 26.1 1,896 73
Kharkiv 31.4 2,731 87
Kherson 28.5 1,068 38
Khmelnytskyi 20.6 1 301 63
Dnepropetrovsk 32.0 3 277 102
Donetsk 26.5 4 297 162
Ivano-Frankivsk 13.9 1 383 99
Kiev (Kyiv) 28.1 1 729 62
Kirovohrad 24.6 981 40
Lviv (Lviv) 21.8 2,538 116
Luhansk 26.7 2,220 83
Mykolaiv 24.6 1 164 47
Odessa 33.3 2,396 72
Poltava 28.7 1 449 50
Rivne 20.0 1 161 58
Zaporizhia 27.2 1 766 65
Zhytomyr 29.8 1 256 42
Sumy 23.8 1 123 47
Ternopil 13.8 1 070 77
Transcarpathia 12.8 1,260 99
Cherkassy 20.9 1 252 60
Chernihiv 31.9 1 056 33
Chernivtsi 8.1 910 112
Vinnytsia 26.5 1 611 61
Volynia 20.1 1 043 52
Kiev 0.8 2,888 3 442
Sevastopol 1) 0.9 399 462
1) annexed by Russia in 2014


The constitution distinguishes between simple and constitutional jurisdiction. The simple jurisdiction is divided into ordinary and special jurisdiction. The latter consists of four instances; It includes the commercial and administrative courts. The ordinary jurisdiction consists of three instances: the local courts, the appellate courts (fact-reviewing instance and in some cases entrance instance) and the Supreme Court as the cassation instance (purely legal reviewing instance). The judges of the Supreme Court and the Anti-Corruption Court, newly created in 2018, were appointed in 2019 with international participation.

The two most important codifications of private law are the civil and economic codes. In procedural law, too, a distinction is made between the code of civil procedure and the code of commercial civil procedure. There are also the Family Code, the Land Code and the Labor Code.

The death penalty was abolished in 2000.


The media landscape is diverse, but exposed to the influence of a few business magnates (oligarchs). Truly independent reporting can rarely be guaranteed.

Press: The main print media appear almost exclusively in Kiev. In addition to the government newspaper “Urjadowyj Kurjer”, these include the tabloids “Fakty i Commentarii” and “Wetschernije Westi” (both in Russian) as well as “Sevodnja” (Russian), “Silski Wisti” (Ukrainian), “Ukrajina Moloda” (Ukrainian) and the Parliamentary newspaper »Holos Ukrajiny«. The »Ekspress« from Lemberg, which is published three times a week, is also of supraregional importance. The weekly newspapers are “Serkalo Nedeli” (bilingual), “Korrespondent” (Russian) and “Kyiv Post” (English). Numerous popular magazines are published by the German Hubert Burda Media and the Swiss Edipresse Groupe. In April 2015, the independent Crimean Tatar broadcaster ATR was refused a license in the Russian-occupied Crimea.

News agencies: »Ukrinform« (state), »Interfax Ukraine« (subsidiary of the Russian agency Interfax; private) and »UNIAN« (private).

Broadcasting: In addition to the state radio (NRKY) with three programs and a foreign service, there are numerous private radio stations. The state television (NTU) with the »First Channel« is opposed to several private broadcasters; »Inter TV«, »1 + 1« and »STB« are the most widespread. They are largely controlled by Ukrainian oligarchs. “Kanal 5”, which was the only one to report balanced under the Yanukovych regime (2010-14), belongs to the companies of President Poroshenko.

Ukraine Overview

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