Early history

  • 4500 BCE: The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture emerges in present-day Ukraine, followed by the Scythians, who inhabit the region from the 8th to the 3rd centuries BCE.
  • 882 CE: Ukraine is part of the Kievan Rus, a loose federation of Slavic tribes that emerged in the 9th century CE. The Kyivan Rus' is one of Europe's largest and most powerful states at the time, and its capital, Kyiv, is a major centre of trade and culture.
  • 988: Grand Prince Vladimir the Great of Kyiv converts to Christianity, adopting Eastern Orthodoxy and marking the beginning of Ukraine's close ties to the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1240: The Mongol Empire invades and destroys much of the Kyivan Rus', and Ukraine becomes part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which later merges with Poland to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • 1657–1687: Ukraine experiences a cultural and political revival known as the Cossack Hetmanate. The Hetmanate is an autonomous state that emerged from the rebellion of the Cossacks, a group of Ukrainian warriors who fought against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire.

Russian and Soviet control

  • 1793: Ukraine becomes a part of the Russian Empire, and the Empire suppresses Ukrainian culture and language in favour of its own.
  • 1917: Following the February Revolution in Russia, the Ukrainian Central Rada is formed, declaring autonomy in June and full independence as the Ukrainian People's Republic in January 1918.
  • 1922: Ukraine is invaded by Soviet Russia. It becomes part of the Soviet Union as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • 1932–1933: Ukraine suffers from Stalinist repression, and its people go through the Holodomor ordeal – a man-made famine that kills millions of Ukrainians.
  • 1941–1944: During World War II, Ukraine is occupied by Nazi Germany. While Ukrainians fight on both sides of the conflict, the majority of about 4.5 million fight in the Red Army against the Germans. The fighting results in mass destruction and the death of at least 8 million Ukrainians. The Holocaust kills an additional 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews, and 2.4 million are forced into labour in the German Reich.
  • 1945: The end of World War II brings an expansion of Ukraine's territory following the Soviet annexation of eastern Poland, which had previously been agreed upon in the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939.
  • 1954: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transfers Crimea from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR, strengthening the territory of Ukraine within the Soviet Union.
  • 1986: The Chornobyl disaster, where a nuclear reactor exploded, occurs in Ukraine, causing widespread environmental damage and human suffering.
  • 1991: Ukraine declares independence from the Soviet Union following a referendum, with 92 percent voting for independence, and experiences a wave of political and social change. Ukraine's transition to democracy is difficult as the country struggles with corruption, economic stagnation and political instability.


  • 2000–2003: Ukraine begins to move closer to the European Union and NATO but faces resistance from Russia, which sees these moves as threatening its regional influence.
  • 2004: Ukraine experiences the Orange Revolution, where mass protests overturn a disputed presidential election, leading to a re-run and the eventual election of Viktor Yushchenko.
  • 2010: Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych is elected, and his government is accused of corruption and authoritarianism.
  • 2013: Protests erupt in Kyiv when President Yanukovych abruptly halts plans for signing an Association Agreement with the European Union, pivoting instead towards closer ties with Russia.

Russo-Ukrainian War

  • 2014: Ukraine experiences another political crisis when widespread protests, known as the Euromaidan, overthrow Yanukovych. Russia subsequently seizes Crimea and launches an insurgency to occupy parts of eastern Ukraine.
  • 2014: After the ousting of Yanukovych, the Russian military organises a referendum on Crimea's unification with Russia. The results reportedly show a large majority in favour, but the vote is denounced as illegal by Ukraine and the international community.
  • 2022: Russian forces launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, taking hold of parts of eastern Ukraine and attempting to overthrow President Volodymyr Zelensky's government. Ukrainian forces mount a strong resistance, leading to a prolonged conflict.
  • The United Nations, the European Union, and other countries implement sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, while many countries provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
  • 2023: As of April, more than 300,000 Russian and Ukrainian military personnel have been killed or injured during the fighting, an estimated 40,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and wounded, and an estimated 16 million have been displaced or fled the country.

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