Ukraine is a country located in Eastern Europe. The second-largest country in Europe, it is bordered by Russia to the east and north-east. Sharing its periphery with Belarus, Poland, Hungary, and Romania, it also shares its coastlines with the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The capital is Kyiv, located on the Dnieper River in the north-central portion of the nation. The nation is divided into two different biomes. The western and northern regions comprise forests with a temperate climate, whereas the southern and eastern `regions are steppes with grassland plains.

Ukraine before the war - Sheet1
Lopan Bridge over the river Lopan_©Andrey Orekhov

The undiscovered architecture

Big, diverse and largely undiscovered, Ukraine is one of Europe’s last genuine travel frontiers, a nation rich in colourful tradition, warm-hearted people and off-the-map experiences.“- Anonymous Travel website.

For the tourists exploring attractions to visit while holidaying, Ukraine was known for its marvellous monasteries, charismatic cathedrals, historical monuments and cities with enchanting landscapes. It used to attract millions of tourists from across the world before the war.

Ukraine was known for its great travelling connections to most European countries, crediting its position. It was well connected to most cities and countries, serving flights and trains from Europe and beyond. The cities of Ukraine have their authenticity and charm. Offering numerous spots for relaxation and interactions, the cities are known for their magnificent soviet architecture, amazing street arts, and lively urban scenes. The cities were historically, culturally, and architecturally rich, hosting some of the best festivals in the country. 

The skyline of the nation is filled with golden domes symbolizing Ukrainian architecture. Buildings like the theatre, universities and mansions are a sight to behold throughout the country.

Ukraine before the war - Sheet2
Kiev Monastery of the Caves_©thefactfile.org

Travel and economy before the war

With a lower-middle-income economy, Ukraine is a developing country. The realm was extremely rich in mineral resources in high concentration. With significant deposits of plentiful minerals like titanium ore, bauxite, mercury, and potassium salts, there are rich Iron Ores in Mariupol, Kerch, which formed the basis of Ukraine’s large iron and steel industries. 

Due to its extensive fertile land, Ukraine was one of the world’s largest grain exporters. One of the most important products of the nation’s food processing industry is sugar. Other significant products include vegetable oil, sunflower seeds, and processed foods like meat, grains, fruits, etc. 

Several popular places in Ukraine which gained popularity with its tourist attractions before invasion include the Kharkiv National University, etc. It is the home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites also, namely, St. Sophia’s Cathedral, Ensemble of Historic Centre, Wooden Church, etc.

Pertaining tensions

While tensions have been palpable between Russia and Ukraine for the past few months, Ukraine’s fate changed overnight after the special military operation was announced. Unfortunately, with the ongoing conditions, it is a heart-breaking situation with citizens fleeing with fear, the rubble of towers, and an army of civilians who are putting a solid resistance in front of a mammoth army. 

The conflicts of Ukraine have a 30-year long history as a liberated nation. Now, it is facing the biggest test as the Russo-Ukrainian war threatens its very existence as an independent country. Ukraine’s modern history amounted to a few tumultuous years of the shaky Ukrainian republic between the collapse of the Russian Empire and the consolidation of the Soviet Union.

The 1990s: Independence from the Soviet

A major setback for Ukraine was the accident at the Chernobyl power plant, which created several environmental problems in the north-western part of Ukraine. Vast areas of land were contaminated by dangerous radioactive isotopes. This caused fatal health problems for a long period. This disaster made the city desolate for an extended time. 

Ukraine before the war - Sheet3
Chernobyl reactors_©livescience.com

Anti-communist protests sweep central and Eastern Europe, spreading through the Soviet bloc. In 1991, the nation declared independence, dissolving the Soviet Union officially. After its dissolution, the country had the world’s third-largest stockpile, which is traded to the UK, US, and Russia. In exchange, they demanded guarantees from the three treaty signatories that they would respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

In the later part of the decade, the government worked on transitioning Ukraine from a republic to a capitalist society and improving international economic opportunities.  

Before the 2020s

At the turn of the 21st century, the Ukrainian economy began growing as ties with Russia increased. As a result of the political crisis that toppled the government, the economy contracted sharply in 2014. Russian troops took charge of Crimea, which was a part of post-soviet-Ukraine. Russian separatist forces took the change of two eastern regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk. The representatives from various European regions met in an attempt to negotiate and end the violence. After several failed negotiation attempts, Russia repeatedly struck over Ukraine in a series of cyberattacks, like power grid failures, large-scale assaults on key Ukrainian infrastructure, etc.

2021-2022: Crisis escalated

Russian forces launched a destructive attack on Ukrainian territory. Missiles raining down from neighbouring countries of Belarus and Crimea. It created a state of frozen conflict, shattering the daily life of the most productive industrial region in Ukraine. 

Kiev before and after war_©Indiatoday.in

Conclusion

A flourishing nation before the Russo-Ukrainian war, Ukraine had its shares of hardships throughout its course as a self-governing land. Emerging as an independent region in the late 20th century, it was an exceptional tourist space as well with picturesque landscapes and marvellous architectural sights. With an unstable economic condition, Ukraine managed to provide various essential resources globally.

References:
  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Ukraine – Health and welfare. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Ukraine/Health-and-welfare.
  2. ‌Fitzpatrick, S. (n.d.). Ukraine as a “borderland”: a brief history of Ukraine’s place between Europe and Russia. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/ukraine-as-a-borderland-a-brief-history-of-ukraines-place-between-europe-and-russia-178168.
  3. ‌DelhiMarch 8, P.P.N., March 8, 2022UPDATED: and Ist, 2022 15:58 (n.d.). From colourful country to ghost town: How Russian invasion left Ukraine in shambles | See before & after pics. [online] India Today. Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/world/russia-ukraine-war/story/how-russian-invasion-left-ukraine-in-shambles-before-after-pics-1922204-2022-03-08 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2022].
Author

Namita Karnik is a budding architect, zealous explorer, and imaginative thinker. With the knack of writing, she wishes to convey her thoughts to the world. Thriving for new experiences, she holds immense love for travel, sketching, and photography.

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