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The War in Ukraine — General History of Ukraine

A guide to better understanding the current crisis


Ukraine is home to over 40 million people and is the second largest country by area in Europe. Its population is predominantly composed of ethnic Ukrainians with a significant Russian minority, as well as smaller numbers of Belarusians, Moldovans, Crimean Tatars, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, and Jews. Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine, but Russian is widely spoken throughout the country. The territory of the modern state of Ukraine has been parts of many historical state entities, and the current state emerged as an independent country from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Below are several books that offer readers introductions to the breadth and depth of Ukrainian history. 

For a full course on modern Ukrainian history, see:

Snyder, Timothy. "The Making of Modern Ukraine." YouTube, 18 videos, last updated November 12, 2022,

For brief factual information about Ukraine, see:

“Ukraine.” In The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency, March 2, 2022.

For a brief timeline of Ukrainian history, see: 

BBC News. “Ukraine Profile - Timeline,” March 5, 2020, sec. Europe.