Ukraine is known for its massive monuments and impressive cathedrals.
Capital: Kiev (Kyiv in Ukrainian, Kiev in Russian) is the Capital of Ukraine. Officially, the city has a population of 2.8 million, but is estimated to live closer to 5 million people. About 48 million people live in Ukraine as a whole. In terms of area, Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia.
Official language: Ukrainian
Currency: Hryvnia, Hryvnia (UAH)
Passport and visa: A Finnish citizen needs a passport as a travel document, which is valid for another 3 months after the end of the trip. Finnish citizens can stay in Ukraine without a visa for 90 days in 180 days.
Time difference to Finland: No time difference.
Electrical current: 220V, plugs similar to Finland
Ukrainian black earths are among the most fertile in the world and Ukraine was once called Europe’s grain store. The country is still one of the world’s largest grain exporters and number one for sunflower oil. A controversial issue is the right to own agricultural land.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Ukraine. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
Dominant in grain exports are barley, corn, wheat and soybeans. In addition to cereals, sugar beets, potatoes and other vegetables are grown mainly.
Ukraine is a major producer of honey.
Animal husbandry also occurs; beef and milk are the most important commercial commodities. For Ukraine defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.
The country is largely self-sufficient in agriculture. At the same time, there are great opportunities to significantly increase production. Despite the good conditions, Ukrainian agriculture has struggled with difficult problems. During the Soviet era, it was neglected in favor of industry.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union led to new difficulties. Agricultural production was halved in the 1990s when major export markets disappeared and prices of energy, fertilizers and other input goods soared. The privatization of agriculture began only at the turn of the millennium. When the old collective farms were converted to smaller, privately owned family farms, production increased. But a large part of agriculture is still inefficient and the cultivation methods are out of date.
Since 1999, both private and state owners exist in agriculture, but as early as 2001, the purchase and sale of agricultural land was banned to protect small farmers from purchases from oligarchs and companies. Volodymyr Zelenskyjs is egering l ed the fall of 2019 was a bill to allow the real estate business in agriculture back in the hope of increasing agricultural production and investment in agriculture. Several different proposals have been debated, and Parliament has voted yes (see Calendar), but the President has also promised a referendum.
Fishing is mainly conducted in the Black Sea. Fishing and environmental degradation in the Azovska Lake and other parts of the Black Sea have reduced catches in recent years. Lake fishing mainly occurs in the country’s rivers, but catches have also fallen sharply as a result of pollution.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
10.1 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
71.7 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of UKR stands for the state of Ukraine in geography.
The combat pilot forms its own movement
The popular fighter pilot Nadija Savchenko forms his own political movement, which is named Ukraine’s active people’s movement (Runa). Savchenko became the national hero and symbol of resistance to Russia’s warfare in eastern Ukraine when she was imprisoned in Russia (see May 2016). During the prison term, she was elected to Parliament for Julia Tymoshenko’s party of the Motherland but was excluded when she returned to her home country for advocating direct negotiations with separatists in the east.
The big bank is nationalized
The state takes over the crisis-hit Privat Bank, the country’s largest privately owned bank, to avoid a bankruptcy that could have serious consequences for the entire Ukrainian economy. The bank, owned by billionaire Ihor Kolomojskyj, has been burdened by debts that it incurred by granting large loans on dubious grounds to the owner’s companies. Kolomojskyj is one of President Poroshenko’s political opponents. The central bank transfers more than the equivalent of half a billion dollars to Privat Bank to keep it alive while it is being reorganized.
The toughest battles in months
Five Ukrainian soldiers are killed by pro-Russian separatists in what is described as the toughest fighting in the east in several months. Another six soldiers were wounded in the fighting at the city of Debaltseve, which was at the center of the conflict in January 2015.
Parliament noble Council of Europe Convention
Refuses to adopt the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence; The reason is that the Convention characterizes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation as a violation of human rights. For a majority of the members of the Ukrainian Parliament, it is against the Christian values to base laws on factors such as gender and sexual orientation. The Council of Europe’s so-called Istanbul Convention was adopted in 2011 and has so far been formally adopted by some 20 countries.
Senior executives resign in protest
National Police Chief Chatia Dekanoidze and Julia Marushevska, one of the top customs officers in Odessa, both resign in protest against politicians intervening and even slowing down their attempts to reform the business and fight corruption.
Saakashvili resigns as governor
Georgia’s former President Michail Saakashvili, now a Ukrainian citizen, announces that he is resigning as governor of Odessa. He says he is tired of constantly being thwarted in his attempts to put an end to corruption. He also accuses President Poroshenko of failing to keep a promise to make Odessa a duty-free foreign trade city. Saakashvili will remain governor until his resignation is formally approved.
Assets should be examined
State Prosecutor Jurij Lutsenko says that the authorities must review all reported assets of more than the equivalent of 100,000 US dollars and that imprisonment of up to 15 years should be punishable for those who are caught with illegals. Gifts to elected officials worth more than $ 10,000, as well as bank accounts with more than $ 100,000, will also be examined, says Lutsenko. His own wife, sitting in Parliament, has declared $ 280,000 and $ 50,000 in cash.
The wealth of power shocks the Ukrainians
The announcement of the Ukrainian authorities’ financial assets strikes as a bomb in Ukrainian society, where the average income is less than SEK 2,000 a month. It turns out that all ministers and a large number of other elected officials and heads of government agencies and authorities have millions in cash at home, out of reach of the tax authorities. Prime Minister Hrojsman reveals that he and his wife together have about SEK 15 million in dollar and euro banknotes as well as a collection of luxury watches. The public declaration of financial assets is part of the efforts to increase transparency in the work of the authorities and modernize the Ukrainian economy, as required by the IMF.
Summit “without miracles”
The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France meet in Berlin to try to revitalize the Ukrainian peace process. Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “no miracle” occurred, but they made some progress by agreeing to establish a “road map” to implement the ceasefire agreement that was signed in Minsk in 2015. Russia’s President Putin say they accept the idea that the OSCE ‘s observers gain expanded powers by arming themselves.
Rebel commander is killed
One of the most notorious rebel commanders in Donetsk, Russian citizen Arseny Pavlov, is killed when an explosive charge is detonated in the elevator in his apartment building. The leadership of the separatists in Donetsk blames the murder of the Ukrainian government, but other rebel leaders say it may have been an element of a power struggle. Pavlov became notorious when, in an interview in 2015, he boasted about how he shot dead 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war.
New far-right party
The right-wing Azov Battalion, which opposes the separatists in the east, forms a political party led by Nazar Kravchenko. The former Volunteer Corps is now part of the National Guard.
Malaysian plan shot down from rebel-controlled village
The International Criminal Investigation Crime Investigation that was shot down in 2014 states that the plane was hit by a Russian-made robot. Prosecutors also believe it clear that the robot was fired from the village of Permovajsky, which was then controlled by the pro-Russian separatists. Investigators base their information on technical data, eavesdropped telephone calls and testimony on how the robotic system was carried across the border from Russia and subsequently transported back into Russia. It is unclear if anyone has given the order for the shooting, and if so who. Prosecutors are not able to prosecute anyone because there is no international agreement that establishes which court it would take. The Russian government again dismisses the charges.
Partial troupe retreat agreement
Ukraine and the separatists enter into an agreement to withdraw soldiers and weapons one kilometer each in three areas along the war front in the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk. The agreement has been mediated by the OSCE.
Hard battles and losses
Both sides report three fallen soldiers each in fighting in the Luhansk and Donetsk areas. The government says 15 soldiers have been wounded and one is missing. A few days earlier it was reported that the ceasefire was broken.
Military cooperation with the United States
Ukraine and the US conclude agreements on cooperation in defense technology and increased US support to strengthen the Ukrainian defense. A retired US general is appointed military adviser to Ukraine’s defense force.
US sanctions against Russia are being expanded
The United States extends its sanctions against Russia for supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Among other things, Bank Rossija and several of Russia’s largest construction companies are affected. Sanctions are also directed at 17 Ukrainian separatists, 11 of which are part of the local government in Crimea that Russia has appointed. According to the sanctions, a large number of Russian companies operating in the Crimea are to be excluded from the international financial networks.
Ukraine and separatists enter into a new agreement in Minsk to respect the ceasefire. The OSCE says that all interested parties have shown a determination to keep the weapons silent when met in a video conference. Just over a week earlier, the hardest fighting in a year has raged in the east.
Attacks on separatist leaders
Igor Plotnitsky, leader of the “People’s Republic of Luhansk”, is seriously injured when an explosive charge explodes near his car. He is taken to a hospital where his condition is described as stable. The Ukrainian government forces deny involvement in the attack.
Minister resigns in protest
Deputy Minister of Information Tetjana Popova resigns in protest against what she refers to as attacks on journalists and the free speech in Ukraine. She mainly responds to the fact that the state did not intervene on a website called the Myrotvorets (Peacekeeper) which published personal information about several thousand journalists who, according to the site, cooperated with the Russian-backed separatists in the east. Many of the designated journalists should have received anonymous threats.
Flaming battles in the east
Army command states that at least 13 soldiers have been killed and up to 30 wounded in fighting in the east, over the course of a week.
Famous journalist murdered
One of Ukraine’s most famous reporters, Pavel Sjerem, is killed in Kiev by an explosive charge placed in his car. He was forced to leave his home country of Belarus after criticizing the authoritarian regime there, and then worked in Russia, where he gained citizenship. He left Russia in protest against that country’s actions in eastern Ukraine. In Ukraine, he became known for critical reporting on the ongoing corruption and the government’s inability to create economic growth. The Sherem had close contacts with Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov who was murdered in Moscow in 2015.
UN criticism against killing in Donbas
The UN Human Rights Commission says in a report that all parties to the conflict in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine are guilty of indiscriminate killing and that those responsible are rarely held accountable. The report is based on an examination of more than 9,400 deaths – civilians, government soldiers and separatists – since the conflict broke out in 2014. According to the UN, part of the killing of civilians can be described as war crimes.
The independence of the judiciary must be strengthened
Parliament is voting through a series of laws aimed at strengthening the judiciary and making it less subject to political pressure; From now on, judges will be appointed by an independent committee that will only take into account their professional competence. Their political or economic relations should no longer be allowed to be recorded. Judges and other judicial staff should also be prosecuted if they commit crimes alongside their professional activities. Within the next year, an independent commission will be appointed to combat corruption.
Harsh battles in the east
The Ukrainian defense reports that the fighting is increasing in the east. During the past week, at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and about 20 injured.
Combat pilot in prisoner exchange with Russia
Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadija Savchenko who was sentenced to 22 years in prison in Russia is exchanged for two Russian soldiers arrested on Ukrainian soil. Savchenko was arrested by separatists in 2014 and brought to Russia where she was sentenced in March 2016, for killing two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine through artillery fire. The two soldiers she exchanged against were sentenced in April to 14 years in prison for war against Ukraine, but were pardoned.
Big city is renamed
Parliament votes for the city of Dnipropetrovsk to change its name to Dnipro. The change of name is part of the effort to clear communist-era memories from the public. The city to the east, which has over a million inhabitants, was given its present name in 1929 as a combination of the Dnipro (Dnieper) River where it is located and the Ukrainian Communist leader Petrovsky.
Prosecutors without legal training
Parliament approves the appointment of former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko as prosecutor; Lutsenko has been a group leader in parliament for Petro Poroshenko’s block and is close to the president, but he has no legal education. The EU has vainly appealed to Poroshenko to appoint a legally experienced person to the prosecutor’s office, since that post is considered crucial for Ukraine’s ability to effectively fight corruption.
New peace attempt fails
Foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France fail in a new attempt to reach a sustainable peace agreement for eastern Ukraine. The big stumbling block is how to make local elections in the separatist areas. Ukraine opposes Russia’s proposal for a new local electoral law.
Increased pressure on Crimean Tatars
The Supreme Court of Crimea bans the Tatar minority’s governing body, the e-mails, who are accused of illegal acts and sabotage against the Russian peninsula authorities. The measure is condemned by the outside world. The head of the Council of Europe calls on the Russians to immediately repeal the decision.
Deadly violence in the east
Four civilians, including one pregnant woman, are killed when the cars they drive are being shot in eastern Ukraine. The week before, at least six Ukrainian soldiers lost their lives in various clashes in the east. It is the highest death rate in two months. A few days later, a Ukrainian soldier and two rebels are killed. The OSCE warns that the violence has now reached “worrying levels”.
Great government reform
With a surprisingly large majority, 275 votes to 50, Parliament approves Volodymyr Hrojsman as new prime minister. Hrojsman has so far been President and has been nominated by Poroshenko’s party bloc. He is now conducting the largest government reform since the 2014 revolution. Hrojsman, a trained lawyer, is with his 38 years Ukraine’s youngest head of government to date. US-born Natalie Jaresko, who had the confidence of the Western world, is forced to leave the post of Finance Minister and is replaced by Oleksandr Danyljuk, who until now has been President Poroshenko’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Two other foreign-born ministers also leave the government. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak retain their missions.
The Prime Minister resigns
Prime Minister Arsenij Jatsenjuk announces that he is leaving after a period of pressure on him to leave the assignment. After warding off the declaration of confidence in February, his attempt to retain power has divided the government.
Problem with EU agreements
Ukraine’s cooperation agreement with the EU is heading towards an uncertain future when more than 60 percent of participants in a referendum in the Netherlands say no to the agreement. The result is not binding on the Hague government, but it is considered difficult to just ignore voters’ opinions. The result of voting is considered more as a dissatisfaction with the EU’s activities at large than as a protest against Ukraine, but the revelation that Ukraine’s President Poroshenko has money tucked away in “mailbox companies” in tax havens is believed to have diluted the dissatisfaction among EU skeptics towards the enlargement of the Union.
The prosecutor is dismissed
Parliament dismisses Prosecutor Viktor Sjokin who, despite resigning in February, remained in office when there was no support in Parliament to approve his dismissal application. Now he is accused of delaying corruption investigations and hiding embezzlement within the state apparatus. The last thing he does at his post is to dismiss his deputy Davit Sakvarelidze, who has been one of his sharpest critics.
Assets must be reported
Adopts a law requiring public servants at all levels, and their relatives, to report their income and financial assets and make the information available to the public;
Criticism is silent
The government prohibits government employees from openly criticizing public institutions or their employees. The decision is described as part of the process of restoring public confidence in public activities, but is criticized for being a threat to freedom of expression.
Ukraine is required at EUR 3 billion
Russia sues the Ukrainian state at US $ 3 billion in a court in London. The lawsuit has been filed after the two governments failed to agree on the terms of repayment of the loan Russia paid out in 2013 when Ukraine was headed by President Yanukovych.
The state prosecutor resigns but the government remains
President Poroshenko calls on Prime Minister Jatsenjuk and Prosecutor Sjokin to step down to restore public confidence in the government. The prosecutor immediately submits his resignation, but Jatsenjuk defends the government’s efforts “in difficult circumstances” before a vote of no confidence in Parliament. The government is passing the vote, which is a setback for the president. However, Jatsenjuk’s position is weakened when the Party of Fosterlands leaves the government. The party has been the smallest in the coalition government and 15 of its 19 members voted to dismiss Jatsenjuk.
Russian truck traffic is prohibited
The government bans Russian trucks from passing through Ukraine. The decision was made the day after Russia banned Ukrainian trucks, which was motivated by attempts by nationalist groups in western Ukraine to prevent Russian freight traffic from crossing the border to the rest of Europe.
New jump in protest against corruption
Deputy Prosecutor Vitalij Kasko resigns in protest against corruption in the state administration. He accuses the Prosecutor General Viktor Sjokin of “swiftly and demonstratively” punishing all attempts by subordinates to counteract the bribery culture at the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Minister of Economy is leaving
Minister of Economy Aivaras Abromavičius submits his resignation in protest of the corruption which he believes has made it impossible to push through the reforms needed to create economic growth. He claims that people he does not name have increased their efforts to block necessary reforms by trying to take control of the country’s most important companies in the oil and gas industry as well as the defense industry. Several of Abromavičius’s closest employees follow his example and submit their farewell applications.
Russian food is banned
The government bans the import of a number of Russian foods, including meat, fish, dairy products, vegetables and fruits. Since Russia has banned transit shipments of Ukrainian goods to other former Soviet republics, Ukraine will soon begin exporting goods to China via ferry to Georgia and then trains through, among others, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
EU agreements enter into force
Ukraine’s free trade agreement with the EU comes into force. At the same time, Russia will stop importing Ukrainian food.