Ukraine is a country about the size of Texas situated in the south-eastern part of Central Europe with a 48 million population. The country declared its independence from the USSR on August 24, 1991 and now has its own territory, government, national emblem, flag and anthem.
Ukraine borders on Russia, Byelorus, Moldova, Slovakia, Roumania, Hungary and Poland on land and Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Roumania and Turkey on Azov and Black Seas.
The climate in Ukraine is for the most part mildly continental. The only exception is a South Crimea which resembles Italy and Spain resorts at Mediterranian Sea (sub-tropical), so winter is usually mild (avarage temperature in January is around 4 degrees Celsius). The sea is good for swimming from May till October, depending on current weather conditions in different areas of Crimea. In June the average for the north reaches +19 degrees Celsius and for the south, +24 degrees Celsius. Winter in Ukraine is rather mild, with no severe frosts.
The market economy of Ukraine has been growing fast since 2000 after years of depression following the collapse of the USSR. In search of better life millions of Ukrainians have to emigrate to other countries (mostly EU, US and Canada). Now things are getting better and some Ukrainian emigrants have been moving back.
Principal exports are metals, minerals, electronics, chemicals, and vegetables. Ukraine scores moderately well in trade freedom and fiscal freedom.
Ukraine’s currency is the Hryvnia. The exchange rate hovers around 5 UAH to 1 USD. US dollars and Euros are widely used.
Much of Ukraine is agrarian, and people in villages often live in old-fashioned houses and ride horse carts around. Cell phones and electronic devices are very popular in Ukraine.
Citizens of USA, Canada, EU countries, Japan, Switzerland and some others do not need a visa to enter Ukraine if their stay will be less than 90 days in total over a 180 day period, no matter what the purpose (work, business, study or personal reasons, including tourism). A passport valid for six months beyond the planned date of travel is required. A visa is necessary for longer stays. To work in Ukraine you must have your employer’s request and obtain a work permit from a local employment centre. Up to $15,000 USD may be brought into Ukraine without special documents.
The most visited cities are Kiev, Lviv, and Odessa. The peninsula of Crimea is also popular as a summer destination because of its many beaches and resorts (such as Yalta) along the Black Sea coast. Ukrainians are known for their hospitality and enjoyment of conversations, eating, and drinking. It is quite easy to make friends in Ukraine. Many foreigners come to Ukraine for romance as well – Ukraine has one of the highest women-to-men ratios in the world.