Ukraine is currently in territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014 but which Ukraine and most of the international community recognise as Ukrainian. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2, making it the largest country entirely within Europe and it has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. 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 Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, two brief periods of independence occurred during the 20th century, once near the end of World War I and another during World War II. Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as The Ukraine, following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. Nonetheless it formed a limited partnership with the Russian Federation and other CIS countries. In the 2000s, the government began leaning towards NATO, and it was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future. Former President Viktor Yanukovych considered the current level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient, and was against Ukraine joining NATO and these events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, and the War in Donbass in April 2014. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic part of the Deep, Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands and is one of the worlds largest grain exporters. The diversified economy of Ukraine includes a heavy industry sector, particularly in aerospace. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers, legislative, executive. Its capital and largest city is Kiev, taking into account reserves and paramilitary personnel, Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia. Ukrainian is the language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature, there are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older and most widespread hypothesis, it means borderland, while more recently some studies claim a different meaning, homeland or region. The Ukraine now implies disregard for the sovereignty, according to U. S. ambassador William Taylor. Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites include a mammoth bone dwelling
Gold Scythian pectoral, or neckpiece, from a royal kurgan in Pokrov, dated to the 4th century BC
The baptism of the Grand Prince Vladimir led to the adoption of Christianity in Kievan Rus'.