|Ancient Crimean fortress|
According to a popular and well established theory, the medieval state of Kievan Rus was established by the Varangians in the 9th century as the first historically recorded East Slavic state. It emerged as a powerful nation in the Middle Ages but disintegrated in the 12th century. By the middle of the 14th century, present Ukrainian territories were under the rule of three external powers: the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Kingdom of Poland, during the 15th century these lands came under the rule of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth , and Crimean Khanate. In 1653 the greater portion of the population rebelled against dominantly Polish Catholic rule and in January 1654 an assembly of the people voted at Pereyaslav to turn to Moscow, effectively joining the southeastern portion of the Polish-Lithuanian empire east of the Dnieper River to Russia.
After the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) and conquest of Crimean Khanate, Ukraine was divided between Russia and Austria, thus the largest part of Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire, with the rest under Austrian (known as Austro-Hungarian since 1849) control.A chaotic period of warfare ensued after the Russian Revolution, with internationally recognized establishment of an independent Ukrainian People's Republic. Independent Ukraine emerged from its own civil war. The Ukrainian–Soviet War followed, which resulted in the Soviet Army establishing control in late 1919 Soviet victory. The conquerors created the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which on 30 December 1922 became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union.
‘To you our land - our intensive work. Long live the industrialization."
Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This dissolution started a period of transition to a market economy, in which Ukraine suffered an eight-year recession. Since then, however, the economy has experienced a high increase in GDP growth. Ukraine was caught up in the worldwide economic crisis in 2008 and the economy plunged. GDP fell 20% from spring 2008 to spring 2009, then leveled off as analysts compared the magnitude of the downturn to the worst years of economic depression during the early 1990s.
On January 21, 1990, over 300,000 Ukrainians organised a human chain for Ukrainian independence between Kiev and Lviv, in memory of the 1919 unification of the Ukrainian People's Republic and the West Ukrainian National Republic. Citizens came out to the streets and highways, forming live chains by holding hands in support of unity.
Ukraine officially declared itself an independent state on August 24, 1991, when the communist Supreme Soviet (parliament) of Ukraine proclaimed that Ukraine will no longer follow the laws of USSR and only the laws of the Ukrainian SSR, de facto declaring Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union. On December 1, Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum formalising independence from the Soviet Union. Over 90% of Ukrainian citizens voted for independence, with majorities in every region, including 56% in Crimea, which had a 75% ethnic Russian population. The Soviet Union formally ceased to exist on December 26, when the presidents of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia (the founding members of the USSR) met in Belovezh Pushcha to formally dissolve the Union in accordance with the Soviet Constitution. And with this Ukraine's independence was formalized de jure and recognised by the international community.
Poland and Canada were the first countries to recognize Ukraine's independence (both) on 2 December 1991.
The history of Ukraine between 1991 and 2004 was marked by the presidencies of Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma. This was a time of transition for Ukraine. While it had attained nominal independence from Russia, its presidents maintained close ties with their neighbors.
On June 1, 1996, Ukraine became a non-nuclear nation when it sent the last of its 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads it had inherited from the Soviet Union to Russia for dismantling.; Ukraine had committed to this by signing the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in January 1994.
The country adopted its constitution on June 28, 1996.
Present day, even though Russia signed the same agreement as the USA and UK, Russia has deployed troops into the region to semi-occupy strategic points such as Airports etc. While no shots have been fired as of the posting of this article, tensions are high and the vigil remains in various parts of Ukraine with Christian priests committing to fasting and other forms of peacful protest.
Pro-Russian demonstrators occupied the regional government building in east Ukraine's city of Donetsk on Monday, besieging lawmakers as they voted to support the protesters but stopped short of meeting their demands for a split from Kiev.
It is clear that Putin feels that Ukraine should remain Russian and many think he is trying to re-form the USSR or something similar to it.
In the U.S., many Republicans are saying that the Obama administration has not done enough, but when pressed, they agree that there is very little the USA can do outside of tough talk and sanctions.