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However, in , deputies introduced changes to the Constitution, which tipped the balance of power in favour of a parliamentary system.
From to , the legitimacy of the Constitutional amendments had official sanction, both with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and most major political parties.
The ruling on the Constitutional amendments became a major topic of political discourse. Much of the concern was based on the fact that neither the Constitution of nor the Constitution of provided the ability to "undo the Constitution", as the decision of the Constitutional Court would have it, even though the constitution arguably has an exhaustive list of possible procedures for constitutional amendments articles — In any case, the current Constitution could be modified by a vote in Parliament.
On 21 February an agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders saw the country return to the Constitution.
The historic agreement, brokered by the European Union , followed protests that began in late November and culminated in a week of violent clashes in which scores of protesters were killed.
In addition to returning the country to the Constitution, the deal provided for the formation of a coalition government, the calling of early elections, and the release of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison.
The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is the formal head of state. Laws, acts of the parliament and the cabinet, presidential decrees, and acts of the Crimean parliament may be abrogated by the Constitutional Court , should they be found to violate the constitution.
Other normative acts are subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court is the main body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction. Local self-government is officially guaranteed.
Local councils and city mayors are popularly elected and exercise control over local budgets. The heads of regional and district administrations are appointed by the President in accordance with the proposals of the Prime Minister.
This system virtually requires an agreement between the President and the Prime Minister, and has in the past led to problems, such as when President Yushchenko exploited a perceived loophole by appointing so-called 'temporarily acting' officers, instead of actual governors or local leaders, thus evading the need to seek a compromise with the Prime Minister.
This practice was controversial and was subject to Constitutional Court review. Ukraine has a large number of political parties, many of which have tiny memberships and are unknown to the general public.
The courts enjoy legal, financial and constitutional freedom guaranteed by Ukrainian law since Judges are largely well protected from dismissal except in the instance of gross misconduct.
Court justices are appointed by presidential decree for an initial period of five years, after which Ukraine's Supreme Council confirms their positions for life.
Although there are still problems, the system is considered to have been much improved since Ukraine's independence in The Supreme Court is regarded as an independent and impartial body, and has on several occasions ruled against the Ukrainian government.
Prosecutors in Ukraine have greater powers than in most European countries, and according to the European Commission for Democracy through Law 'the role and functions of the Prosecutor's Office is not in accordance with Council of Europe standards".
Since 1 January it has been permissible to hold court proceedings in Russian by mutual consent of the parties.
Citizens unable to speak Ukrainian or Russian may use their native language or the services of a translator. Law enforcement agencies in Ukraine are organised under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Law enforcement agencies, particularly the police, faced criticism for their heavy handling of the Orange Revolution.
Many thousands of police officers were stationed throughout the capital, primarily to dissuade protesters from challenging the state's authority but also to provide a quick reaction force in case of need; most officers were armed.
Sergei Popkov heeded his colleagues' calls to withdraw. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is also responsible for the maintenance of the State Security Service ; Ukraine's domestic intelligence agency, which has on occasion been accused of acting like a secret police force serving to protect the country's political elite from media criticism.
On the other hand, however, it is widely accepted that members of the service provided vital information about government plans to the leaders of the Orange Revolution to prevent the collapse of the movement.
Historically, Soviet Ukraine joined the United Nations in as one of the original members following a Western compromise with the Soviet Union, which had asked for seats for all 15 of its union republics.
Ukraine has consistently supported peaceful, negotiated settlements to disputes. It has participated in the quadripartite talks on the conflict in Moldova and promoted a peaceful resolution to conflict in the post-Soviet state of Georgia.
Ukraine also has made a substantial contribution to UN peacekeeping operations since Ukraine currently considers Euro-Atlantic integration its primary foreign policy objective,  but in practice it has always balanced its relationship with the European Union and the United States with strong ties to Russia.
The European Union EU has encouraged Ukraine to implement the PCA fully before discussions begin on an association agreement, issued at the EU Summit in December in Helsinki , recognizes Ukraine's long-term aspirations but does not discuss association.
Ukraine—NATO relations are close and the country has declared interest in eventual membership. All major political parties in Ukraine support full eventual integration into the European Union.
The Association Agreement with the EU was expected to be signed and put into effect by the end of , but the process was suspended by because of the political developments of that time.
Ukraine long had close ties with all its neighbours, but Russia—Ukraine relations became difficult in by the annexation of Crimea , energy dependence and payment disputes.
There are also tensions with Poland  and Hungary. The system of Ukrainian subdivisions reflects the country's status as a unitary state as stated in the country's constitution with unified legal and administrative regimes for each unit.
Including Sevastopol and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea that were annexed by the Russian Federation in , Ukraine consists of 27 regions: The 24 oblasts and Crimea are subdivided into raions districts and city municipalities of regional significance, or second-level administrative units.
Populated places in Ukraine are split into two categories: Urban populated places are split further into cities and urban-type settlements a Soviet administrative invention , while rural populated places consist of villages and settlements a generally used term.
All cities have certain degree of self-rule depending on their significance such as national significance as in the case of Kiev and Sevastopol , regional significance within each oblast or autonomous republic or district significance all the rest of cities.
City's significance depends on several factors such as its population, socio-economic and historical importance, infrastructure and others.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a ,man military force on its territory, equipped with the third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.
Ukraine ratified the treaty in , and by the country became free of nuclear weapons. Ukraine took consistent steps toward reduction of conventional weapons.
It signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe , which called for reduction of tanks, artillery, and armoured vehicles army forces were reduced to , The country plans to convert the current conscript -based military into a professional volunteer military.
Ukraine has been playing an increasingly larger role in peacekeeping operations. There was also a maintenance and training battalion deployed in Sierra Leone.
In —05, a Ukrainian unit was deployed as part of the Multinational force in Iraq under Polish command. The total Ukrainian armed forces deployment around the world is servicemen.
Military units of other states participate in multinational military exercises with Ukrainian forces in Ukraine regularly, including U.
Following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. It was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future.
In Soviet times, the economy of Ukraine was the second largest in the Soviet Union, being an important industrial and agricultural component of the country's planned economy.
The transition was difficult for the majority of the population which plunged into poverty. Day-to-day life for the average person living in Ukraine was a struggle.
A significant number of citizens in rural Ukraine survived by growing their own food, often working two or more jobs and buying the basic necessities through the barter economy.
In , the government liberalised most prices to combat widespread product shortages, and was successful in overcoming the problem.
At the same time, the government continued to subsidise state-run industries and agriculture by uncovered monetary emission.
The loose monetary policies of the early s pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels. For the year , Ukraine holds the world record for inflation in one calendar year.
The country was also slow in implementing structural reforms. Following independence, the government formed a legal framework for privatisation.
However, widespread resistance to reforms within the government and from a significant part of the population soon stalled the reform efforts.
A large number of state-owned enterprises were exempt from privatisation. Ukraine produces nearly all types of transportation vehicles and spacecraft.
Antonov airplanes and KrAZ trucks are exported to many countries. Ukraine became an active participant in scientific space exploration and remote sensing missions.
Between and , Ukraine has launched six self made satellites and launch vehicles , and continues to design spacecraft.
The country imports most energy supplies, especially oil and natural gas and to a large extent depends on Russia as its energy supplier.
The World Bank classifies Ukraine as a middle-income state. The public will to fight against corrupt officials and business elites culminated in a strong wave of public demonstrations against the Victor Yanukovych's regime in November Ukraine has managed to achieve certain progress in reducing absolute poverty, ensuring access to primary and secondary education, improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.
The economy of Ukraine overcame the heavy crisis caused by armed conflict in southeast part of country. As of , according to major economic classifications of countries such as gross domestic product at purchasing power parity or the Human Development Index, Ukraine is the second poorest country in Europe, after Moldova.
Ukraine has a very large heavy-industry base and is one of the largest refiners of metallurgical products in Eastern Europe.
Ukraine is regarded as a developing economy with high potential for future success, though such a development is thought likely only with new all-encompassing economic and legal reforms.
Issues relating to current corporate governance in Ukraine were primarily linked to the large scale monopolisation of traditional heavy industries by wealthy individuals such as Rinat Akhmetov , the enduring failure to broaden the nation's economic base and a lack of effective legal protection for investors and their products.
Rail transport in Ukraine connects all major urban areas, port facilities and industrial centres with neighbouring countries.
The heaviest concentration of railway track is the Donbas region of Ukraine. Although rail freight transport fell by 7. Transport by air is developing quickly, with a visa-free programme for EU nationals and citizens of a number of other Western nations,  the nation's aviation sector is handling a significantly increased number of travellers.
The Euro football tournament, held in Poland and Ukraine as joint hosts, prompted the government to invest heavily in transport infrastructure, and in particular airports.
Kiev Boryspil is the county's largest international airport; it has three main passenger terminals and is the base for the country's flag carrier, Ukraine International Airlines.
Other large airports in the country include those in Kharkiv , Lviv and Donetsk now destroyed , whilst those in Dnipro and Odessa have plans for terminal upgrades in the near future.
Antonov Airlines , a subsidiary of the Antonov Aerospace Design Bureau is the only operator of the world's largest fixed wing aircraft, the An International maritime travel is mainly provided through the Port of Odessa , from where ferries sail regularly to Istanbul , Varna and Haifa.
The largest ferry company presently operating these routes is Ukrferry. In , Ukraine was ranked number 19 on the Emerging Market Energy Security Growth Prosperity Index, published by the think tank Bisignis Institute, which ranks emerging market countries using government corruption, GDP growth and oil reserve information.
Ukraine produces and processes its own natural gas and petroleum. However, the majority of these commodities are imported. Eighty percent of Ukrainian natural gas supplies are imported, mainly from Russia.
Natural gas is heavily utilised not only in energy production but also by steel and chemical industries of the country, as well as by the district heating sector.
In , Shell started exploration drilling for shale gas in Ukraine—a project aimed at the nation's total gas supply independence.
Following the armed conflict in the Donbass, Ukraine was cut off from half of coal and all of its anthracite extraction, dropping Ukrainian coal production by 22 percent in Russia was Ukraine's largest coal supplier, and in Russia blocked its coal supplies, forcing 22 Ukrainian power plants to shut down temporarily.
In , Russia accounted for In , almost percent of Ukraine's natural gas supply came from Russia. From , it all comes from the EU.
In , all of Ukraine's nuclear fuel came from Russia. Ukraine has been a net energy exporting country, for example in , 3.
Most of the nuclear fuel has been coming from Russia. Coal and gas -fired thermal power stations and hydroelectricity are the second and third largest kinds of power generation in the country.
The share of renewables within the total energy mix is still very small, but is growing fast. The Economic Bank for Reconstruction and Development estimates that Ukraine has great renewable energy potential: Ukraine has a large and steadily growing Internet sector, mostly uninfluenced by the financial crisis of — As of June, , there were Kearney Global Services Location Index,  Ukraine ranks 24th among the best outsourcing locations, and is among the top 20 offshore services locations in EMEA, according to Gartner.
Ukraine's IT sector employs close to , workers, including 50, software developers. This number is expected to surpass the , mark by In Ukraine occupied 8th place in Europe by the number of tourists visiting, according to the World Tourism Organization rankings.
Kiev , Lviv , Odessa and Kamyanets-Podilskyi are Ukraine's principal tourist centres each offering many historical landmarks as well as formidable hospitality infrastructure.
Tourism used to be the mainstay of Crimea's economy but there has been a major fall in visitor numbers following the Russian annexation in The Seven Wonders of Ukraine and Seven Natural Wonders of Ukraine are the selection of the most important landmarks of Ukraine, chosen by the general public through an Internet-based vote.
According to the Ukrainian Census of , Ukrainians make up Other significant groups have identified themselves as belonging to the nationality of Russians Ukraine has one of the most equal income distribution as measured by Gini index and Palma ratio.
Ukraine's population excluding Crimea in was estimated at 42,, The population has been shrinking by over , annually since The birth rate has recovered in recent years from a low level around , and is now comparable to the European average.
In , the country's rate of population decline was the fourth highest in the world. Life expectancy is falling, and Ukraine suffers a high mortality rate from environmental pollution, poor diets, widespread smoking, extensive alcoholism and deteriorating medical care.
During the years to , more than 1. In Ukraine posted record-breaking birth rates since its independence. Infant mortality rates have also dropped from This is lower than in countries of the world.
The current birth rate in Ukraine, as of [update] , is The phenomenon of lowest-low fertility, defined as total fertility below 1. Ukraine, where total fertility a very low 1.
Although Ukraine has undergone immense political and economic transformations during —, it has maintained a young age at first birth and nearly universal childbearing.
Analysis of official national statistics and the Ukrainian Reproductive Health Survey show that fertility declined to very low levels without a transition to a later pattern of childbearing.
Findings from focus group interviews suggest explanations of the early fertility pattern. These findings include the persistence of traditional norms for childbearing and the roles of men and women, concerns about medical complications and infertility at a later age, and the link between early fertility and early marriage.
To help mitigate the declining population, the government continues to increase child support payments. Thus it provides one-time payments of 12, hryvnias for the first child, 25, Hryvnias for the second and 50, Hryvnias for the third and fourth, along with monthly payments of hryvnias per child.
In the highest birth rates were in the western oblasts. In total, Ukraine has cities, of them are labelled oblast-class, smaller raion -class cities, and two special legal status cities.
These are followed by urban-type settlements and 28, villages. According to the constitution, the state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian.
Ukrainian is mainly spoken in western and central Ukraine. In central Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian are both equally used in cities, with Russian being more common in Kiev , [f] while Ukrainian is the dominant language in rural communities.
In eastern and southern Ukraine, Russian is primarily used in cities, and Ukrainian is used in rural areas. These details result in a significant difference across different survey results, as even a small restating of a question switches responses of a significant group of people.
For a large part of the Soviet era, the number of Ukrainian speakers declined from generation to generation, and by the mids, the usage of the Ukrainian language in public life had decreased significantly.
According to the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , Ukrainian is the only state language of the republic. However, the republic's constitution specifically recognises Russian as the language of the majority of its population and guarantees its usage 'in all spheres of public life'.
Of the Ukrainian population, Judaism and Hinduism were the religions of 0. A survey of the same Razumkov Centre, found that: Among those Ukrainians who declared to believe in Orthodoxy, It recognizes the primacy of the Pope as head of the Church while still maintaining a similar liturgical and spiritual tradition as Eastern Orthodoxy.
The famines of the s , followed by the devastation of World War II, created a demographic disaster. Life expectancy at birth fell to a level as low as ten years for females and seven for males in and plateaued around 25 for females and 15 for males in the period — Significant migration took place in the first years of Ukrainian independence.
In total, between and , 2. Its immediate tasks were to help refugees and prisoners of war, care for handicapped people and orphaned children, fight famine and epidemics, support and organize sick quarters, hospitals and public canteens.
At present, society involves more than 6. Its Visiting Nurses Service has 3, qualified nurses. The organization takes part in more than 40 humanitarian programmes all over Ukraine, which are mostly funded by public donation and corporate partnerships.
By its own estimates, the Society annually provides services to more than , lonely, elderly people, about 23, people disabled during the Second World War and handicapped workers, more than 25, war veterans, and more than 8, adults handicapped since childhood.
Assistance for orphaned and disabled children is also rendered. Ukraine's healthcare system is state subsidised and freely available to all Ukrainian citizens and registered residents.
However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as a number of private medical complexes do exist nationwide. All of the country's medical service providers and hospitals are subordinate to the Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day-to-day administration of the healthcare system.
Despite this, standards of hygiene and patient-care have fallen. Larger and more specialised medical complexes tend only to be found in major cities, with some even more specialised units located only in the capital, Kiev.
A factor contributing to the high death rate is a high mortality rate among working-age males from preventable causes such as alcohol poisoning and smoking.
As of March the Ukrainian government is reforming the health care system, by the creation of a national network of family doctors and improvements in the medical emergency services.
Active reformation of Ukraine's healthcare system was initiated right after the appointment of Ulana Suprun as a head of the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine.
General practitioners will provide basic care for patients. The patient will have the right to choose one. Emergency medical service is considered to be fully funded by the state.
Emergency Medicine Reform is also an important part of the healthcare reform. In addition, patients who suffer from chronic diseases, which cause a high toll of disability and mortality, are provided with free or low price medicine.
According to the Ukrainian constitution , access to free education is granted to all citizens. Complete general secondary education is compulsory in the state schools which constitute the overwhelming majority.
Free higher education in state and communal educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis. Because of the Soviet Union's emphasis on total access of education for all citizens, which continues today, the literacy rate is an estimated These tests are later used for university admissions.
The first higher education institutions HEIs emerged in Ukraine during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The first Ukrainian higher education institution was the Ostrozka School , or Ostrozkiy Greek-Slavic-Latin Collegium, similar to Western European higher education institutions of the time.
Established in in the town of Ostrog , the Collegium was the first higher education institution in the Eastern Slavic territories. The oldest university was the Kyiv Mohyla Academy , first established in and in officially recognised by the government of Imperial Russia as a higher education institution.
Among the oldest is also the Lviv University , founded in More higher education institutions were set up in the 19th century, beginning with universities in Kharkiv , Kiev , Odessa and Chernivtsi and a number of professional higher education institutions, e.
Rapid growth followed in the Soviet period. By a number of higher education institutions increased to with over , students.
The Ukrainian higher education system comprises higher educational establishments, scientific and methodological facilities under national, municipal and self-governing bodies in charge of education.
Ukraine produces the fourth largest number of post-secondary graduates in Europe, while being ranked seventh in population. Higher education is either state funded or private.
Students that study at state expense receive a standard scholarship if their average marks at the end-of-term exams and differentiated test suffice; this rule may be different in some universities.
For most students the government subsidy is not sufficient to cover their basic living expenses. Most universities provide subsidised housing for out-of-city students.
Also, it is common for libraries to supply required books for all registered students. Ukrainian universities confer two degrees: Historically, Specialist degree usually 5 years is still also granted; it was the only degree awarded by universities in the Soviet times.
It was approved in Ukrainian Parliament on 1 July The main changes in the system of higher education: Junior Bachelor, Bachelor, Master, Doctor of Philosophy PhD and Doctor of Science; load on lecturers and students was reduced; academic mobility for faculty and students etc.
Ukrainian is the dominant language in Western Ukraine and in Central Ukraine , while Russian is the dominant language in the cities of Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine.
In the Ukrainian SSR schools, learning Russian was mandatory; currently in modern Ukraine, schools with Ukrainian as the language of instruction offer classes in Russian and in the other minority languages.
On the Russian language , on Soviet Union and Ukrainian nationalism , opinion in Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine tends to be the exact opposite of those in Western Ukraine; while opinions in Central Ukraine on these topics tend be less extreme.
Similar historical cleavages also remain evident at the level of individual social identification. During elections voters of Western and Central Ukrainian oblasts provinces vote mostly for parties Our Ukraine , Batkivshchyna   and presidential candidates Viktor Yuschenko , Yulia Tymoshenko with a pro-Western and state reform platform , while voters in Southern and Eastern oblasts vote for parties CPU , Party of Regions and presidential candidates Viktor Yanukovych with a pro-Russian and status quo platform.
Ukrainian customs are heavily influenced by Orthodox Christianity , the dominant religion in the country. The Communist era had quite a strong effect on the art and writing of Ukraine.
This greatly stifled creativity. During the s glasnost openness was introduced and Soviet artists and writers again became free to express themselves as they wanted.
The tradition of the Easter egg , known as pysanky , has long roots in Ukraine. These eggs were drawn on with wax to create a pattern; then, the dye was applied to give the eggs their pleasant colours, the dye did not affect the previously wax-coated parts of the egg.
After the entire egg was dyed, the wax was removed leaving only the colourful pattern. This tradition is thousands of years old, and precedes the arrival of Christianity to Ukraine.
Artisan textile arts play an important role in Ukrainian culture,  especially in Ukrainian wedding traditions. Ukrainian embroidery , weaving and lace-making are used in traditional folk dress and in traditional celebrations.
Ukrainian embroidery varies depending on the region of origin  and the designs have a long history of motifs, compositions, choice of colours and types of stitches.
Embroidery motifs found in different parts of Ukraine are preserved in the Rushnyk Museum in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi.
National dress is woven and highly decorated. Weaving with handmade looms is still practised in the village of Krupove, situated in Rivne Oblast.
The village is the birthplace of two famous personalities in the scene of national crafts fabrication. Nina Myhailivna  and Uliana Petrivna  with international recognition.
To preserve this traditional knowledge the village is planning to open a local weaving centre, a museum and weaving school.
Historical accounts of the time were referred to as chronicles , the most significant of which was the Primary Chronicle. By the s, Ukrainian romanticism began to develop, and the nation's most renowned cultural figure, romanticist poet-painter Taras Shevchenko emerged.
Where Ivan Kotliarevsky is considered to be the father of literature in the Ukrainian vernacular; Shevchenko is the father of a national revival. Then, in , use of the Ukrainian language in print was effectively prohibited by the Russian Empire.
The ban was never officially lifted, but it became obsolete after the revolution and the Bolsheviks' coming to power. Ukrainian literature continued to flourish in the early Soviet years, when nearly all literary trends were approved the most important literary figures of that time were Mykola Khvylovy , Valerian Pidmohylny , Mykola Kulish , Mykhayl Semenko and some others.
These policies faced a steep decline in the s, when prominent representatives as well as many others were killed by NKVD as part of the Great Purge.
In general around writers were repressed by what was known as the Executed Renaissance. The doctrine did not necessarily repress the use of the Ukrainian language, but it required that writers follow a certain style in their works.
In post-Stalinist times literary activities continued to be somewhat limited under the Communist Party. Literary freedom grew in the late s and early s alongside the decline and collapse of the USSR and the reestablishment of Ukrainian independence in Ukrainian architecture includes the motifs and styles that are found in structures built in modern Ukraine, and by Ukrainians worldwide.
These include initial roots which were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. Since the Christianization of Kievan Rus' for several ages Ukrainian architecture was influenced by the Byzantine architecture.
After the 12th century , the distinct architectural history continued in the principalities of Galicia-Volhynia.
During the epoch of the Zaporozhian Cossacks , a new style unique to Ukraine was developed under the western influences of the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth.
After the union with the Tsardom of Russia , many structures in the larger eastern, Russian-ruled area were built in the styles of Russian architecture of that period, whilst the western Galicia was developed under Austro-Hungarian architectural influences.
Ukrainian national motifs would finally be used during the period of the Soviet Union and in modern independent Ukraine.
The great churches of the Rus' , built after the adoption of Christianity in , were the first examples of monumental architecture in the East Slavic lands.
The architectural style of the Kievan state was strongly influenced by the Byzantine. Early Eastern Orthodox churches were mainly made of wood, with the simplest form of church becoming known as a cell church.
Major cathedrals often featured scores of small domes, which led some art historians to take this as an indication of the appearance of pre-Christian pagan Slavic temples.
Several examples of these churches survive; however, during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, many were externally rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style see below.
Examples include the grand St. Cyril's Church , circa 12th-century. All can still be found in the Ukrainian capital.
Several buildings were reconstructed during the lateth century, including the Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr-Volynskyi , built in and reconstructed in —, the Paraskevi church in Chernihiv , built in with reconstruction done in the late s, and the Golden gates in Kiev , built in and reconstructed in The latter's reconstruction was criticised by some art and architecture historians as a revivalist fantasy.
Unfortunately little secular or vernacular architecture of Kievan Rus' has survived. As Ukraine became increasingly integrated into the Russian Empire , Russian architects had the opportunity to realise their projects in the picturesque landscape that many Ukrainian cities and regions offered.
Andrew's Church of Kiev — , built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli , is a notable example of Baroque architecture, and its location on top of the Kievan mountain made it a recognisable monument of the city.
An equally notable contribution of Rasetrelli was the Mariyinsky Palace , which was built to be a summer residence to Russian Empress Elizabeth.
Russia eventually conquered the south of Ukraine and Crimea, and renamed them as New Russia. New cities such as Nikolayev , Odessa , Kherson and Sevastopol were founded.
These would contain notable examples of Imperial Russian architecture. St Andrew's Church in Kiev , an example of Baroque. Lviv's Old Town ; architecture there is much influenced by its history as part of Austria-Hungary and Poland.
Poltava museum, Ukrainian Modern architecture example. Central Department store in Kiev , Stalinist architecture example. In , the capital of Soviet Ukraine moved from Kharkiv to Kiev.
Previously, the city was seen as only a regional centre, hence received little attention. All of that was to change, at great price. The first examples of Stalinist architecture were already showing, and, in light of the official policy, a new city was to be built on top of the old one.
This meant that much-admired examples such as the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery were destroyed. Sophia Cathedral was under threat.
Also, the Second World War contributed to the wreckage. After the war, a new project for the reconstruction of central Kiev transformed Khreshchatyk avenue into a notable example of Stalinism in Architecture.
However, by , the new politics of architecture once again stopped the project from fully being realised.
The task for modern Ukrainian architecture is diverse application of modern aesthetics, the search for an architect's own artistic style and inclusion of the existing historico-cultural environment.
An example of modern Ukrainian architecture is the reconstruction and renewal of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in central Kiev.
Despite the limit set by narrow space within the plaza, the engineers were able to blend together the uneven landscape, and use underground space for a new shopping centre.
A major project, which may take up most of the 21st century, is the construction of the Kiev City-Centre on the Rybalskyi Peninsula , which, when finished, will include a dense skyscraper park amid the picturesque landscape of the Dnieper.
Music is a major part of Ukrainian culture, with a long history and many influences. From traditional folk music , to classical and modern rock , Ukraine has produced several internationally recognised musicians including Kirill Karabits , Okean Elzy and Ruslana.
Elements from traditional Ukrainian folk music made their way into Western music and even into modern jazz. Ukrainian music sometimes presents a perplexing mix of exotic melismatic singing with chordal harmony.
The most striking general characteristic of authentic ethnic Ukrainian folk music is the wide use of minor modes or keys which incorporate augmented 2nd intervals.
During the Baroque period, music was an important discipline for those that had received a higher education in Ukraine.
It had a place of considerable importance in the curriculum of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Much of the nobility was well versed in music with many Ukrainian Cossack leaders such as Mazepa, Paliy, Holovatyj, Sirko being accomplished players of the kobza , bandura or torban.
The first dedicated musical academy was set up in Hlukhiv, Ukraine in and students were taught to sing, play violin and bandura from manuscripts.
As a result, many of the earliest composers and performers within the Russian empire were ethnically Ukrainian, having been born or educated in Hlukhiv, or had been closely associated with this music school.
During the attack, mortars were fired upon the post, and clashes broke out. One border guard was killed in the fighting, and another eight guardsmen were injured.
A group of DPR-affiliated militants defected as a result, and joined the Ukrainian army. In a further blow to the insurgents, government forces retook the stronghold of Sloviansk on 5 July.
Ahead of a planned government offensive on the insurgent-occupied city of Donetsk, key roads leading into the city were blocked on 7 July.
Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey stated on 8 July that there would be "no more unilateral ceasefires", and said dialogue was only possible if the insurgents laid down their weapons.
More than 10, households in Luhansk Oblast are without gas service due to damage to gas lines, according to a statement on the same day by the regional gas supplier.
Clashes at the Donetsk International Airport continued on 10 July. Insurgents fired mortars at the airport, and attempted to recapture it, but were repelled by the Armed Forces.
According to these reports, the Vostok Battalion had rejected the authority of Igor Girkin. Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the DPR, denied these reports, however, and said that they were lies.
Heavy fighting continued in Luhansk Oblast on 11 July. On that day, an Armed Forces column travelling near Rovenky was attacked by an insurgent-operated Grad rocket lorry.
Four people were killed at Marinka , a western suburb of Donetsk city, after rockets struck an insurgent-held area of the city. The Ukrainian government and separatists blamed each other for the attack.
After a brief lull following the insurgent withdrawal from the northern part of Donetsk Oblast, fighting continued to escalate sharply in the eastern parts of Donetsk Oblast.
Russian officials blamed the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the shelling, whilst Ukraine denied responsibility and accused insurgents in Donbass of having staged a false flag attack.
LPR officials acknowledged that they lost thirty men during fighting in the village of Oleksandrivka. Clashes broke out between insurgents and the Armed Forces along the border with Russia in Shakhtarsk Raion on 16 July.
Insurgents who had been holed up in the town of Stepanivka made an attempt to escape encirclement by government forces at Guardsmen managed to repel the attack, and forced the insurgents back to Stepanivka, where fighting continued.
At least eleven Ukrainian soldiers died in the fighting. A civilian passenger jet, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 , was shot down over Hrabove on 17 July, killing all people on board.
DPR-affiliated insurgents blamed the Ukrainian government for the disaster, whereas the government, Netherlands, and Australia blamed Russia and the insurgents.
An oil refinery in Lysychansk was also set alight. Heavy fighting also resumed around Donetsk airport overnight, and explosions were heard in all districts of the city.
The city fell quiet by Fighting was concentrated in the northwestern districts of Kyivskyi and Kuibyshevskyi , and also near the central railway station and airport, leading local residents to seek refuge in bomb shelters, or to flee the city.
DPR commander Igor Girkin also said "The time has come when Russia must take a final decision — to really support Donbas's Russians or abandon them forever".
After having retaken Sievierodonetsk , government forces fought insurgents around the neighbouring city of Lysychansk.
Grad rocket attacks were launched against government forces garrisoned at Vesela Hora , Kamysheve , and also Luhansk airport. The press centre for the government military operation said that situation remained "most complex" in the areas around "Donetsk city, Luhansk city, Krasnodon and Popasna ".
He also said that he did not expect a government incursion into Donetsk city centre. Amidst the fighting, two Ukrainian Su fighter jets that had been providing air support to ground forces near Dmytrivka were shot down by the insurgents.
By the next day, government forces recaptured Lysychansk. One important bridge collapsed in the fighting, severing a critical route out of the city.
People fled the violence in cars and on foot. Izvaryne border post in Luhansk Oblast, which is controlled by the Army of the South-East, was reported to be the main entry point for weapons and reinforcements from Russia.
According to Donetsk city administration, eleven houses were damaged in Petrovsky, and at least one man was injured. During the third day of the government's offensive on the insurgent-stronghold of Horlivka , between twenty and thirty civilians were killed on 27 July.
Shelling damaged or destroyed many buildings, including a hospital, greengrocer's, and energy company office. According to the city administration, these districts were heavily damaged.
According to a report by National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine , crossing points on the border with Russia were attacked from Russian territory at least times since 5 June.
Government forces made a further advance on 30 July, when they evicted insurgents from Avdiivka , near Donetsk airport.
Monitors were escorted to the site by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. After fighting severed various transmission lines, Luhansk city lost all access to electrical power.
Minor skirmishes occurred in Vasylivka and Zhovtneve. An ambush by the insurgents on government forces there resulted in the deaths of ten soldiers.
A government offensive on the city of Pervomaisk in Luhansk Oblast continued. Following a series of military defeats, Igor Girkin, insurgent commander for the DPR, urged Russian military intervention, and said that the combat inexperience of his irregular forces, along with recruitment difficulties amongst the local population in Donetsk Oblast had caused the setbacks.
He addressed Russian president Vladimir Putin , saying that "Losing this war on the territory that President Vladimir Putin personally named New Russia would threaten the Kremlin's power and, personally, the power of the president".
Luhansk was reported to be "virtually surrounded", with little electrical power or water supply available. The situation in the city of Donetsk was less dire, as trains to Russia were still running, but fighting and shelling did not relent.
After a prolonged battle, the Armed Forces recaptured the vital town of Yasynuvata on 4 August. The pro-government paramilitary Azov and Shakhtarsk battalions said that they had advanced into Donetsk city, and had begun to "liberate" it.
As government troops pushed into Donetsk on 5 August, heavy fighting erupted at Fighting between insurgents and government forces across the Donbass region continued "constantly" over the course of the day.
Fighting and shelling continued around Donetsk on 8 August, with several civilians killed or injured.
Hospitals and residential buildings were heavily damaged, and many remaining residents took shelter in basements. Later in the day, a convoy of some two dozen armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles with official Russian military plates crossed into Ukraine near the insurgent-controlled Izvaryne border crossing.
Ten civilians were killed during continued shelling in Donetsk. A convoy of refugees from Luhansk was hit by Grad rockets near the village of Novosvitlivka.
Dozens of civilians died in the attack, which the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine blamed on the insurgents. Insurgents denied attacking any refugee convoys.
After having edged into Luhansk city on 18 August, government forces began to advance through the city "block by block" on 19 August.
There was also fighting Makiivka and Ilovaisk , two cities just outside Donetsk city. A spokesman for the Internal Affairs Ministry said that government forces were "clearing" Ilovaisk of insurgents, and later captured most of the city.
Fighting across Donetsk Oblast on 19 August resulted in the deaths of 34 civilians. By 25 August, an insurgent counter-offensive had stalled the government's offensive on Donetsk and Luhansk cities.
As this attack occurred, insurgents in Luhansk received reinforcements. Government forces near Ilovaisk and Amvrosiivka in Donetsk Oblast became surrounded by insurgents, after their attempt to take Ilovaisk was halted by heavy shelling.
Donbas Battalion leader Semen Semenchenko said "I think it is profitable for the defence ministry not to send help, but to achieve a situation where volunteer battalions start blaming each other about who helped who".
Insurgents used the village as a base to shell Novoazovsk. The nearest insurgent artillery positions were beyond the range of this area.
Villagers from Kolosky in Starobesheve Raion told Reuters that military men with Russian accents and no identifying insignias had appeared in the village at the weekend of 23—24 August.
The men wore distinctive white armbands. Following the appearance of these men, ten soldiers in green military uniforms with white armbands were detained by Ukrainian forces at Dzerkalne.
The Russian Defence Ministry said the men had entered Ukraine "by mistake during an exercise". Insurgents pushed into Novoazovsk on 27 August.
At least four civilians were injured by insurgent shelling. To the north, close to Starobesheve , Ukrainian forces said that they spotted a column of armoured vehicles, tanks, and Grad rocket lorries that was heading south, toward Novoazovsk.
Amidst pressure on this new third front, government forces retreated westward toward Mariupol. US State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said that "these incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway", and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said "An invasion of Russian forces has taken place".
Meanwhile, fighting continued in and around Donetsk city. Shells fell on the Kalininskyi district of Donetsk, and the Donbas Battalion continued to fight against the insurgents that had trapped them in Ilovaisk for days.
Nico Tak said on 28 August that "well over" 1, Russian soldiers were operating in the Donbass conflict zone.
They said that every house in the village was destroyed. According to some of the troops who withdrew from Ilovaisk, DPR forces violated the agreement and fired on them whilst they retreated under white flags , killing as many as several dozen.
A Ukrainian patrol boat in the Sea of Azov was hit by shore-based artillery fire on 31 August. Former insurgent commander Igor Girkin said that the insurgents had "dealt the enemy their first naval defeat".
Government forces withdrew from Luhansk International Airport on 1 September, despite having held the airport from insurgent attacks for weeks prior.
Ukrainian officials in Mariupol said that the situation there "was worsening by the hour", and that there was an imminent danger of an attack on the city.
Constant shelling was heard on the outskirts of Mariupol. Humanitarian corridors were meant to be maintained, so that civilians could leave affected areas.
President Poroshenko said that Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts would be granted "special status", and that use of the Russian language in these areas would be protected by law.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Poroshenko discussed the ceasefire on 6 September. The ceasefire was broken multiple times on the night of 6—7 September, and into the day on 7 September.
The OSCE said that these breaches of the agreement would not cause the ceasefire to collapse. Two of the armoured vehicles that the monitors were travelling in were struck by shrapnel, rendering one of the vehicles inoperable and forcing the monitors to retreat.
They also said that there were "command and control issues" amongst both parties to the conflict. They also said that they would "spare no efforts" to strengthen the ceasefire.
In the most significant incident since the start of the ceasefire, seven Ukrainian soldiers died on 29 September when a tank shell struck the armoured personnel carrier that they were travelling in near Donetsk International Airport.
Over the next few days, fighting continued around Donetsk International Airport, whilst Donetsk city itself came under heavy shelling. Heavy fighting continued across the Donbass through October, despite the ceasefire.
Despite this, battles continued across the Donbass, leaving many soldiers dead. Concurrently, separatist representatives requested a redraughting of Minsk Protocol, as a result of recurrent violations.
Another convoy of forty-three green military lories, some towing howitzers and rocket launchers, was observed by OSCE monitors in Donetsk on 11 November.
Following the reports of these troop and equipment movements, NATO General Philip Breedlove said on 12 November that he could confirm that Russian troops and heavy equipment had crossed into Ukraine during the preceding week.
By 2 December, at least 1, people had died during fighting in Donbass, since the signing of the Minsk Protocol in early September.
In light of this continued fighting, Ukrainian and separatist forces agreed to cease all military operations for a "Day of Silence" on 9 December.
Whilst no new peace talks took place following the "Day of Silence", fighting between Ukrainian and separatist forces lessened significantly over the course of December.
In line with the Minsk Protocol , more prisoner exchanges took place during the week of 21—27 December. In a press conference on 29 December, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said that the Minsk Protocol was becoming effective "point by point", and also said that "progress" was being made.
Whereas Ukrainian forces had been losing about men per day prior to the Protocol, only about had been killed in the four months since its signing.
Poroshenko also said that he believed that conflict would only end if Russian troops were to leave Donbass.
Infighting amongst insurgent groups broke out in Luhansk Oblast. LPR officials said that Bednov had been running an "illegal prison", and that he had engaged in torturing prisoners.
The new terminal building at Donetsk International Airport , which had been a site of fighting between Ukrainian and separatist troops since May , was captured by the DPR forces on 15 January.
He said "Let our countrymen hear this: We will not just give up our land. We will either take it back peacefully, or like that", referring to the capture of the airport.
A government military operation at the weekend of 17—18 January resulted in Ukrainian forces recapturing most of Donetsk International Airport.
The operation caused fighting to move toward Donetsk proper, resulting in heavy shelling of residential areas of the city that border the airport.
OSCE monitors reported that shelling had caused heavy damage in the Donetsk residential districts of Kyivskyi , Kirovskyi , Petrovskyi , and Voroshilovskyi.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said on 21 January that Russia had deployed more than 9, soldiers and tanks, artillery units, and armoured personnel carriers in Donbass.
Ukrainian troops held out on the second floor of the building until the ceiling collapsed, killing several soldiers.
According to one volunteer, thirty-seven Ukrainian troops died. Following this victory, separatist forces began to attack Ukrainian forces along the line of control in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Separatist forces captured a Ukrainian checkpoint at Krymske, attacked other checkpoints in the area, and shelled villages near Shchastya.
A hail of Grad rockets killed at least thirty people, and wounded another eighty-three. President Hollande said that the plan was the "last chance" for resolution of the conflict.
The shelling targeted the city's Armed Forces headquarters, but also hit a nearby residential area. Seven people were killed, while twenty-six were wounded.
Battalion commander Andriy Biletsky said his forces were moving toward Novoazovsk. The scheduled summit at Minsk on 11 February resulted in the signing of a new package of peacemaking measures, called Minsk II , on 12 February.
Ukrainian forces were forced to withdraw from the Debaltseve area on 18 February, leaving separatist forces in control of it.
Ukraine reported that it had suffered no casualties during 24—26 February, something that had not occurred since early January Minor skirmishes continued into March, but the ceasefire was largely observed across the combat zone.
Ukrainian and separatist forces had withdrawn most of the heavy weaponry specified in Minsk II by 10 March. Artillery and tanks were utilised in the battle there, which was described as the heaviest fighting since the signing of Minsk II.
Before leaving Ukraine be sure that you have activated your cards by changing default pin code and you new phone number You can do it even abroad by sending sms command to technical bank number.
Unlike other banks, PrivatBank is from national bank, government owned so all deposits are safer to be kept here.
You may manage them online. Financial phone required for login may also be changed online. Ukrainian cuisine is tasty, and just as other cuisines in the region uses a lot of fat ingredients, especially in the festive dishes.
The first, salo, is perhaps something you might not make yourself try - however is a delicious side dish, as for the soups being a must-have dish. If you are outside a big city or in doubt about food, exercise caution and common sense about where you buy food.
Try to buy groceries only in supermarkets or large grocery stores, always check the expiration date, and never buy meat or dairy products on the street you can buy them at the market but not near the market.
In most towns in Ukraine there are some very good restaurants. Read the menu boards posted by the entrance of every establishment to help you to choose.
You may also find nice places to eat not by signs, but just by the smoke of traditional wood fires. Restaurateurs are very friendly, and, more often than not, you will be one of their first foreign visitors.
You have to try varenyky with potatoes and cottage cheese in a sauteed onion and sourcream sauce, a fantastic dish. These are just starters, but ones that might fill you up quickly.
The legal drinking and purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is Drinking in public is not allowed. The Ukrainian speciality is "horilka" with pepper.
Other kinds of horilka are also quite popular - linden tilia , honey, birch, wheat. There is a great choice of wine, both domestic and imported.
The domestic wines mostly originate in the south, in the Crimean region - known for wine making dating back to early Greek settlement over 2, years ago, although wines from the Carpathian region of Uzhorod are also quite tasty.
Ukraine is also famous for its red sparkling wines. The price of imported wines dropped significantly over the last number of years and trends indicate further reductions in price due to inegration of Ukraine with EU.
There are a lot of beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Ukrainian beer is of very good quality.
Beer from barrels or kegs more common in cafes is often watered down. Canned beer is not very common in Ukraine and sometimes not of the same quality as the same variety sold in bottles.
All told, Ukrainian beers are very tasty and gaining popularity elsewhere in Europe. During the summer one can easily buy it from designated street vendors.
Milk drinks, of all sorts, are also available, although mostly in supermarkets. Bottles of high-quality mineral water are available everywhere, as well as lemonades, beer, and strong drinks.
When seeking to buy bottled water make sure to ask for "voda bez hazu" water without gas otherwise you are likely to be handed the carbonated drink. Every year a few die or go blind as a result of poisoning from methyl alcohol, a compound used to make fake cheap copies.
In Ukraine it's possible to buy Cognacs from other former Soviet republics. The Moldavian and Armenian cognacs are quite good and not expensive.
Hotels might be a traumatic experience for a westerner anywhere outside Kyiv. The cheaper the hotel, the larger the chance of some quite unfortunate surprises, especially for those not familiar with the Soviet-style level of service which still remains in many places.
There are a number of 5-star hotels in Kyiv and one in Donetsk Donetsk is occupied by Russia ; see guides for those cities for listings.
Another option is to rent an apartment on the internet before you leave your country. There are many to choose from in Kyiv and Odesa.
If you would like to go down this route you can either look at airbnb which will have English speaking hosts but higher prices or look at doba.
What many people from ex-Soviet countries do is to go to the railway station, where they try to find people who are willing to rent a room.
Prices are usually much cheaper and if there are enough people, offering the room you can make great deals especially in tourist cities like in Yalta, people are almost fighting to be able to talk to you.
These deals are usually not legal and they will take you to a corner before negotiating. Make sure they have warm water, and don't be afraid to say it's not what you expected when seeing the room.
There are a lot of foreign students in Ukrainian universities. Bribery is huge, you can obtain a diploma here having attended just twice the first and last days of study if you have money.
That's a hyperbole, of course, but the real life is not much different. Of course if one wants to obtain good knowledge they will, but motivation in such a situation is low.
Many universities are now offering high quality distance courses. Getting a work permit visa is a necessity for foreigners if they are going to be employed by any legal entity exceptions apply only for international institutions and representative offices of foreign companies.
The work permit is more of a hiring permit. The potential employer has to apply with the labour administration for hiring an non-resident employee.
With the application a complete cv, as well as documents showing an accredited education, have to be submitted. The same can be said in Kyiv, if you do not support the Ukrainian government.
Pro-Ukrainian foreigners are advised to keep their opinions about the current situation example, claiming that what they are doing is terrorism as LOW as they can.
People are reported to get captured and held hostage, and even killed on sight in territories controlled by Russia! Many people will tell you that you can take a copy of your visa with you.
Sadly, some people experience trouble over this. It's always better to carry your passport with you.
A photocopy can be refused as proof of identity. A phone call to a local who can help can prove very effective. If you can it is useful to have a bilingual acquaintance who can be called in an emergency or if you encounter difficulties.
These are widely available, cheap often free and easy to 'top-up', even online or via online banking. Operator "Lifecell" may be a good option.
Police - ; Ambulance - ; Fire - ; Gas emergency - Dial short number from any phone. As in any other country, using common sense when traveling in Ukraine will minimize any chances of being victim of petty crime and theft.
Try not to publicize the fact that you're a foreigner or flaunt your wealth: With the exception of Kyiv, Odesa, and other large cities, foreign tourists are still quite rare.
As in any other country, the possibility of petty theft exists. In Kyiv, make sure to guard your bags and person because pickpocketing is very common, especially in crowded metro stations.
Guides have told tourists to watch certain people because they heard those people say: Pickpocketing and scamming is common, particularly in crowded places, in tourist areas, in bars and nightclubs and on public transportation.
There has been a slight increase in street crime in Central Kyiv, especially after nightfall. Pickpocketing on the Kyiv metro has also increased.
Armed robbery can also occur, especially in the larger cities Street crime. But if you are arrested by police or other law enforcement, do your best to inform them that you're a foreign visitor.
Not many police officials speak foreign languages freely, but many people are eager to assist in translation. Don't drink alcohol in the company of unknown people which may be suggested more freely than in the West.
You don't know how much they are going to drink and convince you to drink with them and what conflicts may arise after that.
Ukraine is a predominantly cash economy. The network of bank offices and ATMs Bankomats has grown quickly and are now readily available in all but the smallest villages.
Do check the security of the machine - it would be wise to use one that is obviously at a bank, rather than in another establishment.
V PAY-cards are not accepted in the country. UnionPay cards are not accepted in Ukraine. Credit and debit cards are accepted by the supermarkets.
Instead, it is widely acceptable to pay cash. Locals especially businesspeople sometimes carry and pay in cash amounts considered unusually large in other countries.
Don't suspect criminal activity in every such case. The Euro and US dollar are generally accepted as alternative forms of currency, particularly in tourist areas.
They are also the most widely accepted convertible currency at the exchange booths, with British pounds in third place. Racially motivated violence and harassment can rarely occur.
The area around the American embassy in Kyiv is known for the provocateur groups targeting black people, and there have been reports of such attacks on Andriivskyi, the main tourist street that runs from Mykhailivska down into Podil.
Particularly in rural areas, having dark skin is often a source of prejudice. However there are two Jewish mayors elected in Kherson and Vinnytsia.
Anecdotal experience is that there is some underlying racism in Ukraine, indeed much of the former Soviet Union.
Migrants from Middle and Central Asia and gypsies receive much closer and frequent attention from the police.
Always have your passport or a photocopy of the main pages if you're concerned about losing it or if you're staying in a hotel that is holding it as foreigners are treated more favorably than others.
This is not to say that it is unsafe or threatening, but it is better to be forewarned of the realities. Many who visited Ukraine as it co-hosted the UEFA Euro along with Poland reported that the racism scares were tremendously exaggerated and that people were very friendly.
Just like in any country, be vigilant, but the chances of there being violent hate crimes are, for the most part, generally low. Ukrainians are friendly to foreigners and will strive to assist you.
While there's a lot of swimming and diving attractions throughout Ukraine, local water rescue is tremendously underfunded. It is unlikely that you would be noticed while drowning, especially on the river.
Use only officially established beaches. Ukraine has some of the worst statistics for road related deaths and injuries in the world so act accordingly.
Take care when crossing the roads; walk and drive defensively: Drivers rarely grant priority to pedestrians crossing a road unless there are pedestrian lights.
Always watch out for your safety. If in doubt, do not drive if concerned about your safety. Carjackings also occur in Ukraine, so take upmost precautions as carjackers would seek late-model vehicles by gunpoint.
Also be warned that pavements suffer in the same way as the roads in terms of collapsing infrastructure. Don't step on man-hole covers, as these can 'tip' dropping your leg into the hole with all the potential injuries!
As of Feb , the Donbass war is still ongoing and threatens to spread across the entire country, if Russia officially invades.
Be aware that these regions lack proper consulate to many countries, and you may be on your own regardless of your situation. Due to ongoing fighting between Russian occupants and Ukrainian forces, travel to Donetsk at this time is extremely dangerous.
The only way to stay safe is to not go. You should avoid all travel to this region. If you are in the region, the best thing to do is leave immediately to the area controlled by Ukraine.
UXO armed ordnance , including landmines, can be littered along the streets, particularly along the border it shares with Ukraine.
Be aware that basic services could be disrupted at any time and travel could be limited by checkpoints, fighting, or infrastructure damage.
If you are in or are going to Donetsk, see war zone safety. Do not speak Ukrainian in this region.
The same thing applies for the Luhansk region as well. Avoid taking pictures of military convoys for you could get in trouble for being considered a spy, or possibly get killed on sight.
The northern part of the Luhansk region remains relatively safe. The Ukrainian elections were held with little disruption here.
Further into the interior of Luhansk region and around the city of Luhansk are much more dangerous, and, for the time being, are NOT fit for tourism.
Avoid anything that is not under Ukrainian jurisdiction. Dnipro is reported to be much safer than any Eastern Ukrainian city.
There is much more Pro-Ukrainian counter protests than Pro-Russian protests. After Russia occupied part of Ukraine, everything related to Russia is logically not welcomed anywhere in Ukraine as it is usually used to provoke Ukrainians about Ukraine's territory integrity.
There is radiation contamination in the northeast from the accident at Chornobyl nuclear power plant in However the effect is negligible unless you permanently live in Chornobyl area itself.
There are even tours to the town of Prypiat which is the closest to the station. The town is famous for the haunting scenery of blocks of apartment buildings abandoned in , now standing out amid the vegetation which spawned from years of neglect.
Do not drink tap water. Major reason of this is that water in many regions is disinfected using chlorine for desinfection, so taste is horrible.