"Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy” (Spike Milligan)






The Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia.


It is bordered on the west by the European Union, Russia in the east and by the Black Sea in the south. It lies between two large geopolitical formations and a number of transport routes run through the Ukraine. Roads, railways and oil- and gas pipelines. Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukraine existed as an independent state for the first time only in the 20th century. Although the first Slavic state developed in the area around Kiev in 882, the so-called Kievan Rus. But on historical maps, we see that the Ukraine was a kind of borderland from the 14th century. Many people fought about it - first Mongols and Poland, then Poland, Ottomans and Russians, who settled in the region.


Besides, the country's name in Russian means "borderland." The largest part of Ukraine was for over 300 years part of the Russian Empire. Then the country was part of the Soviet Union. Only the western part of the country, the area around Lviv (Galicia), was first under Polish and then under Austrian rule. Only 1945 Galicia was annexed to the Soviet Republic Ukraine.

All these historical influences are still present. 73% of Ukrainians are Ukrainians, 22% are Russians. The remaining 5% are Romanians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Poles, White Russians, Hungarians, Tartars and Jews.
The Western Ukraine has a Catholic tradition with the Byzantine rite (The Uniate Church which is oriented towards Europe). The East is more Russian-Orthodox (and oriented towards Russia).

Russia perceives itself as the successor of the first Slavic state. Kiev is to speak the "mother of all Russian cities". And Ukraine is the cradle of Russia, which is why it is called "little Russia".

When Ukraine became independent in 1991, the Russians perceived this as a loss of a region that is linked to their identity. But as well as a loss of a connection to Central Europe and the Black Sea. This resulted in several disputes with the independent Ukrainian state.

The first issue involved the division of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.

After difficult negotiations, the Ukraine agreed to lease part of the port for 20 years to Russia.

The second issue concerned the Crimea, which Khrushchev had given in 1954 to Ukraine. Russia calls for return of the Crimea, since 67% of its inhabitants are Russians.

Kiev declared the Crimea an autonomous republic and an integral part of Ukraine.

Ukraine depends on Russia and its investments. Russia is the most important oil and natural gas supplier to Ukraine. In return, Ukraine has the most extensive pipeline network in Europe. And Russia is dependent on this, because 90% of Russian natural gas deliveries to Europe pass through this network.

Ukraine concluded a cooperation agreement in 1994 with the European Union. In 2000 the EU reached the closing of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The European Commission considered the possibility of a membership application Ukraine at a conference in Yalta.

In 1997, NATO signed a charter with Ukraine, which enables it to participate in the new European security structures, without really belonging to it. The rapprochement between Ukraine and NATO is primarily due to the policy of the United States. For the U.S., the Ukraine is a geopolitically important. Until 1995, the United States was involved in the destruction of Ukrainian nuclear weapons. They promoted the economic liberalization of the country with numerous loans and investments. In 2003, Ukraine sent 1800 soldiers to Iraq - this improved the relations between the two countries.