Republic. Gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Head of state:
Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov since 2014.
Head of government:
Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk since 2014.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European plugs with two round pins are used.
Vast and vaguely mysterious, Ukraine is barely known to outsiders despite being one of the largest countries in Europe. Long associated with its colossal neighbour Russia, it’s a country of varied landscapes and surprising cultural diversity. The Carpathian Mountains that spill over the border with Poland, Hungary and Romania dominate the west of the country while flat plains carpeted with sunflowers and cereals make up much of the central and eastern region. To the south are the almost Mediterranean-like Black Sea coast and the Crimean Peninsula, which remains a huge draw for holidaymakers every summer.
Ukraine's capital, Kiev, founded in the eighth century, displays a heady mix of architecture befitting of a city that was once capital of Kievan Rus, the precursor of the modern Russian state. A wealth of baroque and Renaissance architecture can also be found in Lviv, one of Europe's oldest cities, while Odessa is probably best known for the Potemkin Stairway that featured in Sergei Eisenstein’s epic film The Battleship Potemkin.
Last updated: 10 March 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Crimea. British nationals in Crimea should leave now. The FCO is not able to provide consular services to anyone choosing to remain in Crimea. Events in Ukraine are fast moving. You should monitor this travel advice regularly and subscribe to email alerts.
The situation in Crimea is increasingly tense following the decision of the Russian parliament to authorise military action on Ukrainian soil against the wishes of the Ukrainian Government. Armed men seized Simferopol airport early on 28 February. Flights have now resumed as of 2 March but we do not advise British nationals to leave via this route until the situation becomes more stable. Train and bus routes out of the peninsula are still operating. There are reports of road blocks, but traffic is able to get through. If you’re currently visiting or living in Crimea, you should leave now. If you choose to remain, you should keep a low profile, avoid areas of protest or stand-off and stay indoors where possible.
The situation in Kyiv and other cities has calmed considerably following months of violent protest during which nearly 100 people were killed. Most businesses in central Kyiv are now open and the transport system has resumed a normal service. Public protests continue around Independence, European and St Michael’s Squares. There has been an increase in street crime, including muggings, in Central Kyiv, especially after nightfall. You should take great care and remain vigilant throughout Ukraine, but particularly in the south and east of the country where violent clashes between demonstrators in the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Mykolaiyv have taken place. You should avoid all demonstrations and large public gatherings.
The British Embassy in Kyiv is open to the public by appointment only. If you need to contact the British Embassy, please call +380 44 490 3660, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Around 80,000 British nationals visited Ukraine in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free.
Take care on the roads. There are a high number of traffic accidents, including fatalities.
Beware of petty crime, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots or when using public transport.