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A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and later submerged fully into Russia.
Two brief periods of independence occurred during the 20th century, once near the end of World War I and another during World War II.
bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland and Slovakia to the west, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.
Ukraine is currently in territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014 making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
It has a population of about 44.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world.
It was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future.
In 2013, protests against the government of President Yanukovych broke out in downtown Kiev after the government made the decision to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia.