Ukraine for Kids

ukraine for kids headerUkraine for Kids: Psyanka, sunflowers, St Andrews Cathedral Kyiv

Ukraine for Kids 

Here are some fascinating facts about Ukraine for Kids. These facts were researched and compiled especially for kids to learn about the countries the world news talk about. We keep the people of this beautiful country in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you all a peaceful Easter!

Ukraine flagUkraine flag
  • Population: 34 million people (2024)
  • Capital: Kyiv with 3 million inhabitants 
  • NameУкраїна (Ukraina)
  • Government: Semi-presidential federation
  • President: Wolodymyr Zelenskyy
  • Official Language: Ukrainian
  • Literacy: More than 99% of all adults can read and write
  • Religion: predominantly Christian (87%), mainly Orthodox 60%, Muslim and Jewish only about 1 % each
  • Currency: 1 hryvnia = 100 kopiyka
  • National Holiday: 24 August (Independence Day)
  • History: Modern human settlements in the area date back to 32,000 BCE. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1922- 1991. In July 1990, the declaration of state sovereignty was signed in Ukraine and on 24 August 1991 the Ukrainian parliament declared the country's independence. Since 2014 Russian forces occupy the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as well as the Crimean peninsula. On 24 February 2022 Russia invaded the country and started a war against Ukraine which is still ongoing.
  • National symbols: trident and national colours blue and yellow 

Where is Ukraine?
Ukraine Map

Ukraine map - including the Russian occupied areas: Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern UkraineUkraine map - including the Russian occupied areas: Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine is an independent country in Eastern Europe and borders seven countries: Belarus, Russia, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

The Crimean peninsula and various eastern areas of the country around Donetsk and Luhansk are occupied by Russia and Putin's army since 2014.

Ukraine for Kids | Geography

Ukraine is often referred to as the second largest country in Europe - after neighbouring Russia. Russia is in fact larger, about 28 times larger in land area than Ukraine. However, Russia is a transcontinental country spreading over the European and Asian continents. Thus if you consider the landmass of the country that is solely located on the European continent, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe!

The country is one of the most populous countries in Europe, was ranking 8th in 2022 but now due to the ongoing war, about 10 million people are refugees and live in neighbouring countries.

Ukraine was home to about 44 million people in 2022, today there are only about 34 million people still living in the country. Of these about 78% are Ukrainians and about 17% consider themselves Russians. The official language is Ukrainian, however, almost all people in Ukraine speak Russian too, as the country once was part of the Soviet Union.

The capital city is called Kyiv. The city houses about 3 million people and is located by the Dnieper River.

Kyiv's Southern Bridge crossing the Dnieper RiverKyiv's Southern Bridge crossing the Dnieper River

Kyiv is Ukraine's largest city. This city was founded in 482 and was an important trade centre already in the medieval ages. According to a legend the city was founded by the brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv and their sister Lybid. 

Founders of Kyiv Monument - image by Olha SolodenkoFounders of Kyiv Monument - image by Olha Solodenko

Large parts of the country are flat and the landscape is dominated by lowlands, plains and steppes. Highlands and mountains are located in the western and southwestern regions. The highest mountains are the Carpathians in the country's western region.  

Physical map of UkrainePhysical map of Ukraine

The country is rich in natural resources and has fertile arable land. Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of Europe. 

ukraine breadbasket - girl in wheat fieldUkraine is often referred to as the 'breadbasket of Europe'

The climate is mostly temperate but in the southern Crimean region, the climate is subtropical.

A flight to Kyiv takes 3.5 hours from London/England and 9 hours from New York/USA.

Ukraine Facts for Kids 

Here some fascinating Ukraine facts and geo superlatives:

  • Ukraine is the largest country that is completely located in Europe. 
  • The longest border is shared with Russia in the northern and eastern parts of the country.
  • The largest city of Ukraine is the capital city Kyiv.
Kyiv and the Dnieper RiverKyiv and the Dnieper River
  • Ukraine has more than 2,782 km/ 1,729 miles of coastline.
  • The highest mountain in Ukraine is Mount Hoverla with 2,061 m/ 6,762 ft. The mountain is located in the Eastern Carpathian mountains.
Mount Hoverla, the highest mountain in UkraineMount Hoverla, the highest mountain in Ukraine
  • The Dnieper is Ukraine's and Europe's fourth longest river. The Dnieper river mouth is in the Black Sea.
  • The largest lake in Ukraine is Lake Yalpuh. This freshwater lake is located near the city of Odessa in southern Ukraine.
  • Ukraine is the world's biggest exporter of sunflowers, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
  • The world's deepest metro station can be found in Kyiv. With almost 106 m/ 346 ft underground, Arsenalna station holds the world record. The escalator ride up to ground level takes five minutes!

Ukraine for Kids | Ukraine Attractions & Landmarks

Kyiv's main city square called MaidanKyiv's main city square called Maidan.
Pechersk Lavra 'Monastery of the Caves' in KyivPechersk Lavra 'Monastery of the Caves' in Kyiv
Lviv in western UkraineLviv in western Ukraine
Khotyn Fortress on the Dnieper RiverKhotyn Fortress on the Dnieper River
Wooden church in the medieval village on Khortytsia IslandWooden church in the medieval village on Khortytsia Island
Odessa in southern UkraineOdessa in southern Ukraine
Swallow's Nest Castle on CrimeaSwallow's Nest Castle on Crimea

Ukraine for Kids | Ukrainian Language

Ukrainian is the national language, while also Russian is widely spoken especially in the eastern and south eastern parts of the country.

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language and similar to Russian. The vocabulary has many words that are also used in other Slavic languages such as Russian, Polish or Slovak.

мир - peace in Ukrainian and Russianмир - peace in Ukrainian and Russian

The Ukrainian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet which consists of 33 letters - as does the Russian language.

'мир' is the Ukrainian and the Russian word for 'peace'.

Almost all people in Ukraine can understand and speak Russian.

Ukraine for Kids |
People in Ukraine

heart in ukraine

Most people in Ukraine live in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country. Most of the people in the Ukraine lives in the western part of the country.

Some 7% of the country's land area in the eastern parts of the country as well as the Crimean peninsula were seized by Pro-Russian separatists in 2014 and proclaimed their independence in 2022. 

In 2013 pro-European Union demonstrations were held regularly in Kyiv.

Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa are the main urban centres in the country.

St Sophia Cathedral in KyivSt Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv

Most people in Ukraine are Christians. The country houses the second largest population of the Eastern Orthodox religion - after Russia. The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian community in the world.

Famous Ukrainians

Among most famous Ukrainian people that are known all over the world are:

  • Vitali Klitschko (born 1971) and Wladimir Klitschko (born 1976): both heavyweight boxing champions and members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, holding most title fight wins in the Guiness Book of World Records. Vitali Klitschko is Mayor of Kyiv.
Wladimir and Vitaly Klitschko - image by Blik Sergey/shutterstock.comWladimir and Vitaly Klitschko - image by Blik Sergey

Other famous Ukrainians are:

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy (born 1978): president of Ukraine, former lawyer as well as screenwriter, comedian and producer
  • Sergei Polunin (born 1989): ballet dancer and actor
  • Elie (also referred to as Ilya) Mechnikov (1845-1916): The scientist won the Nobel Prize in 1908 for his research and works in immunology 
  • Yulia Tymoshenko (born 1960): leader of the Orange Revolution in 2005, was the first female prime minister of Ukraine in 2005 and from 2007-2010
  • Anastasia Prikhodko (born 1987): Ukraininan activist and popular singer-songwriter
  • Sviatoslav I Igorievich, also called "The Brave", is regarded as the patron saint and founder of Ukraine. He reunited Baltic groups and undertook campaigns in the Balkan region to expand his reign to cover the largest area on the European continent. He was crowned Grand Prince of Kiev in 964.

Ukraine for Kids
Ukraine Economy

Ukraine is a country rich in natural resources. The country is second in titanium ore reserves as well as for iron ore and mercury ore reserves. The country is also the 10 largest steel producer in the world.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant which is located in northern Ukraine near the Belarus border was destroyed in the world's largest nuclear accident in 1986. The largest nuclear disaster in world history caused a much higher death toll and human and environmental impact than the nuclear disaster of Fukushima/ Japan. There is an exclusion zone with several towns still around the destroyed nuclear plant.

Ukraine once held the largest nuclear arsenal in the world but gave this up when it signed its independence declaration in 1994.

Ukraine is Europe's breadbasket, harvester in field - image by smereka/shutterstock.comUkraine is Europe's breadbasket - image by smereka

In regards to arable land area, Ukraine has the most arable land in Europe and is among the largest grain exporting countries in the world. Barley, wheat, rye and corn are grown and harvested here. Ukraine is among the five top producers worldwide for these grains.

There are also huge sunflower fields and Ukraine is the world's largest exporter of sunflower oil.

Sunflower fieldSunflower field

The country's main trading partners are China, Germany, Netherlands, Belarus and the USA.

Still Ukraine is said to have the second largest army in Europe - again after Russia. 

Ukraine for Kids | Ukrainian Food

Most dishes in Ukraine contain some kind of grains, such as wheat, rye, corn or millet. Vegetables such as cabbage, beetroot, potatoes or are also eaten almost on a daily basis. Borscht, a soup made of red beetroots, is considered the national dish.

ukraine dishesTypical Ukrainian food: borscht, kutya, cabbage rolls and dumplings

Here is some typical Ukrainian food:

  • Borscht or Red beet soup: soup made with red beets and vegetables such as onions, garlic and cabbage that are cut into small pieces. This red soup is often served cold and is then blended with yoghurt or sour cream from which the soup gets its pink colour.
  • Kutya: a cereal dish made with wheat berries, poppy seeds, nuts and honey. This is a dish traditionally eaten during the Christmas holidays
  • Varenyky: dumplings filled with fried onions, minced meat, potatoes, cabbage or mushrooms or with sweet fillings such as cherries. They are often served with sour cream
Ukrainian dumplings filled with cherriesUkrainian dumplings filled with cherries
  • Paska or Babka: traditional bread eaten for Easter
  • Pysanky or krasanky: traditional easter eggs, decorated and painted with melted wax and colour pens

Ukraine for Kids | Animals 

Ukraine has a varied wildlife with more than 100 mammal and 350 bird species. Among the commonly seen mammals are foxes, deer, rodents and wild horses.

Ukrainian wild horsesWild horses: mother and foal

Among the common bird species are ducks, geese and storks.

Storks nest and blue sky - Ukraine animalsStorks nest

Did you know?

Struve Geodetic Arc - image by UNESCOStruve Geodetic Arc

The Struve Geodetic Arc is an arc stretching of ten survey points stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Baltic Sea in Ukraine. These points are located in various countries for exact measurements of the earth's shape and size. The arc reaches from Norway to Ukraine. The Ukrainian monument is among the country's world heritage sites.

Ukraine for Kids | Resources

Ukraine for Kids: Facts were last amended and updated on 28 March 2024.

  • Visit Ukraine. "The main Easter traditions of Ukraine." Visitukraine. Last updated 13 Apri 2023. Last accessed 28 March 2024
  • The Kyiv Independent. "Culture Archives." KyivIndependent. Last accessed 28 March 2024
  • Edvard Zharsky. "Fauna of Ukraine." Canadian Institute of Ukrainian StudiesLast accessed 28 March 2024
  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Ukraine." WorldFactBook. Last updated 20 March 2024. Last accessed 28 March 2024
  • VisitUkraine. "Ukraine News" VisitUkraine.Today. Last updated 25 February 2022. Last accessed 28 March 2024
  • UNESCO. "Struwe Geodetic Arc." UNESCO WorldHeritage. Last accessed 28 March 2024

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