The countries in East-Central Europe have a rich and long history. They also have a fascinating and unique culture. Here are some interesting things you may not have known about Ukraine and Belarus. We've included links where you can learn more about each country.

UKRAINE

INTERESTING FACTS

  • For the first time since 1991, when Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, its sovereignty is being threatened by Russia. 

  • The country of Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia. It has an area of 603,628 km² (233,062 mi²)

  • The geographic centre of Europe is within the boundary of Ukraine

  • Ukraine is bisected by the large Dniepr River running north to south, emptying into the Black Sea

  • Ukraine’s government has both a president and a prime minister

  • Ukraine is one of the largest exporters of grain in the world

  • The national currency of Ukraine is called the Hryvnia

  • Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is one of the oldest cities in Europe, predating the existence of the countries of Ukraine and Russia. It has a population of 2.8 million (2013)

  • Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv has the shortest yet widest main city street in the world. Its length is 1.2 km

  • Kyiv has the deepest metro station in the world

  • Kyiv is home to numerous beautiful Orthodox cathedrals

  • The Ukrainian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Most Ukrainians in the east and central Ukraine speak Russian

  • Milla Jovovich, Hollywood actress, and supermodel was born in Kyiv, Ukraine

  • Mila Kunis, a Jewish actress, was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine

  • Ukrainians wear their wedding rings on their right hand instead of their left