50+ Interesting Facts About Ukraine

Last updated on April 20th, 2023


59. Football is the top sport in Ukraine with the clubs Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk enjoying immense popularity. The country’s best finish in the World Cup was in 2006 when they went as far as the quarterfinals.

60. Andriy Shevchenko is one of the most recognizable names in Ukrainian football having played in clubs like Chelsea and AC Milan. A lethal striker, Shevchenko tallied 67 goals in European tournaments during his illustrious career.

61. Ukraine has enjoyed tremendous success in rhythmic and artistic gymnastics. Their athletes have won several Olympic gold medals in the 1990s including Tatyana Gutsu, Oleksandra Tymoshenko, Lilia Podkopayeva, and Ekaterina Serebrianskaya.

62. The Klitchsko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, dominated boxing’s heavyweight division from the late 1990s to the 2000s. They never fought each other in a pro match due to a promise they made to their mother.

kids playing Chess in Ukraine
Kids playing chess. Photo © Eric Cote

63. Both have PhDs in sports science, earning them nicknames such as “Dr. Steelhammer” and “Dr. Ironfist”. Vitali Klitchsko turned to politics after retirement, serving as mayor of Kyiv since 2014. Wladimir became a professor in Switzerland where he taught masters students.

64. Ukraine’s best swimmer is Yana Klochkova with four Olympic gold medals to her name. Affectionately called the “Goldfish”, she won the individual medleys in the 200m and 400m events at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. She is also a world champion in 400m freestyle.

65. In 2008, Vasiliy Lomachenko won gold for Ukraine in boxing’s featherweight division. He repeated the feat in the lightweight division four years later. Now a pro boxer, he has captured belts in three divisions thanks to exceptional footwork and speed.

66. In 1994, Oksana Baiul won Ukraine’s only skating gold medal at the Winter Olympics. She is the country’s first Olympic champion since gaining independence. At 16, she turned pro and started a US tour to maximize opportunities.

67. Vladislav Terzyul is among the world’s top high-altitude climbers. His most notable feat is climbing all the 8000-meter peaks including Everest and K2. He is the first Ukranian to do so. Terzyul died descending Makalu in 2004.

68. Chess is popular sport in Ukraine with the country having around 85 grandmasters. At 14, Ruslan Ponomariov became the youngest grandmaster in the world for men in 1998. He won the world title at the age of 18.

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69. Ukraine has the distinction of being the geographical center of Europe.

70. It features the deepest metro station in the world, which was built in 1960.

71. Its capital city, Kiev also features the shortest main city street with a length of only 1.2 kilometers.

72. The average life expectancy is around 71.48 years.

73. Ukraine has the fourth highest literacy rate in the world.

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74. Native Ukrainians consist of roughly 77.8 percent of the population.

75. Although Ukrainians are hospitable, they seldom smile in public.

76. Locals boast a distinctive ethnocultural identity, which is expressed through music and folk oral literature.

77. Ukrainians are accustomed to energetic, fast-paced folk-stage dancing, which replaced traditional styles.

Antonov-225 Mriya
Antonov-225 Mriya – the largest cargo plane in the world at Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. This was destroyed in the recent war between Russia and Ukraine. 

78. Locals designed the world’s heaviest aircraft, the An-225 Mriya. The Antonov An-225 Mriya, Ukranian for “dream”, took its first flight in 1988. It held several records such as the largest wingspan by an aircraft in operation and the heaviest aircraft ever built. Its maximum carrying capacity is 640 tons. Unfortunately, it got destroyed in the recent war between Russia and Ukraine.

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79. According to the Traveler’s Digest, Kiev is home to the most beautiful women in the country.

Gas lamps decor in Lviv city center.

80. The invention of the first gas lamp took place in Lviv.

81. The country is the second largest in Europe after Russia.

82. Ukraine hosts up to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the  primeval beech forests of the Carpathians.

83. It has one of the largest armies in Europe.

Ukraine – country at a glance

Independence24 August 1991
Capital CityKiev
(50°27′N 30°30′E)
Largest CityKiev
(50°27′N 30°30′E)
Areatotal: 603,550 sq km

land: 579,330 sq km

water: 24,220 sq km
Population43,745,640 (July 2021 est.)
Literacytotal population: 99.8%
Official LanguageUkrainian
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Land bordersPoland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Belarus.
Government typesemi-presidential republic
PresidentVolodymyr Zelensky
Prime MinisterDenys Anatoliyovych Shmyhal
CurrencyUkrainian hryvnia (UAH)
ReligionsEastern orthodoxy
Climatetemperate continental; Mediterranean only on the southern Crimean coast; precipitation disproportionately distributed, highest in west and north, lesser in east and southeast; winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland; warm summers across the greater part of the country, hot in the south
Terrainmostly fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus, with mountains found only in the west (the Carpathians) or in the extreme south of the Crimean Peninsula
Mean elevation175 m
Lowest pointBlack Sea 0 m
Highest pointHora Hoverla 2,061 m
Natural resourcesiron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, arable land
Agricultural land71.2%
Birth rate9.23 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate13.9 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratio0.86 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
National symboltryzub (trident)
National anthem"Shche ne vmerla Ukraina" (Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished)
National colorsblue, yellow
Industriescoal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food processing
Exports$60.67 (2020 est.)
ferrous and nonferrous metals, fuel and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, foodstuffs
Imports$62.46 (2020 est.)
machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials
GDP - per capita (PPP)$12,400 (2020 est.)
Time ZoneUTC+02:00
Internet country code.ua
Calling Code+380
Drives on theRight
Table last updatedNovember 22, 2021