Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and north-east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west; and Romania, Moldova and the Black Sea to the south. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km², and is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 41.5 million, making it the eighth-most populous country in Europe. Its capital and largest city is Kyiv.
The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire.