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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Ukraine (12/03)


For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.



Area: 233,000 sq. mi.
Cities: Capital--Kiev (often transliterated as Kyiv from Ukrainian, pop. 2.8 million). Other cities--Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Odesa, Lviv.
Terrain: A vast plain mostly bounded by the Carpathian mountains in the southwest and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in the South.
Climate: Continental temperate, except in southern Crimea, which has a sub-tropical climate.

Population (est.): 47.72 million.
Nationality: Noun--Ukrainian(s); adjective--Ukrainian.
Ethnic groups: Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Jews, Poles, Crimean Tatars, and other groups.
Religions: Ukrainian Orthodoxy, Ukrainian Greek Catholicism, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Islam
Languages: Ukrainian (official), Russian, others.
Education: Literacy--98%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--22/1,000; life expectancy--61.6 yrs. males, 72.8 yrs. females.
Work force: 23 million. Industry and construction--32%; agriculture and forestry--24%; health, education, and culture--17%; transport and communication--7%.

Type: presidential-parliamentary.
Independence: August 24, 1991.
Constitution: First post-Soviet constitution adopted June 28, 1996.
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--450-member unicameral parliament, the Supreme Rada (members elected to 4-year terms). Judicial--Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, local courts, and Constitutional Court.
Political parties: Wide range of active political parties and blocs, from leftist to center and center-right to ultra-nationalist.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Administrative subdivisions: 24 provinces, Crimean autonomous republic, and two cities with special status--Kiev and Sevastopol.

Nominal GDP (2003 est.): $46.34 billion.
Annual growth rate (2003 est.): 5.5-6.0%.
Nominal Per Capita GDP (2003 est.): $970.

Natural resources: Vast fertile lands, coal, ironstone, complex ore, various large mineral deposits, timber.
Agriculture: Products--Grain, sugar, sunflower seeds.
Industry: Types--Ferrous metals and products, coke, fertilizer, airplanes, turbines, metallurgical equipment, diesel locomotives, tractors.
Trade (2002): Exports--$17.95 billion: Ferrous and nonferrous metals, mineral products, chemicals, machinery, transport equipment, grain, and textiles. Imports--$16,97 billion: Energy, mineral fuel and oil, machinery and parts, transportation equipment, chemicals, textiles, and paper.

The population of Ukraine is about 47.72 million. Ethnic Ukrainians make up about 73% of the total; ethnic Russians number about 22%, ethnic Belarusians number about 5%. The industrial regions in the east and southeast are the most heavily populated, and the urban population makes up about 67% of the population. Ukrainian and Russian are the principal languages. Although Russian is very widely spoken, in the 1989 census (the latest official figures) 88% of the population identified Ukrainian as their native language. The dominant religions are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (which practices Orthodox rites but recognizes the Pope as head of the Church). The largest part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church belongs to the Moscow Patriarchy; however, following Ukrainian independence a separate Kiev Patriarchy was also established, which declared independence from Moscow. In addition to these, there is also a Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

The birth rate of Ukraine is declining. About 70% of adult Ukrainians have a secondary or higher education. Ukraine has about 150 colleges and universities, of which the most important are at Kiev, Lviv, and Kharkiv. There are about 70,000 scholars in 80 research institutes.

The first identifiable groups to populate what is now Ukraine were Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Goths, among other nomadic peoples who arrived throughout the first millennium B.C. These peoples were well known to colonists and traders in the ancient world, including Greeks and Romans, who established trading outposts that eventually became city-states. Slavic tribes occupied central and eastern Ukraine in the sixth century A.D. and played an important role in the establishment of Kiev. Situated on lucrative trade routes, Kiev quickly prospered as the center of the powerful state of Kievan Rus. In the 11th century, Kievan Rus was, geographically, the largest state in Europe. Christian missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, propagated the Christian faith and the Cyrillic alphabet. Kievan Rus Prince Volodymyr converted the Kievan nobility and most of the population to Christianity in 988. Conflict among the feudal lords led to decline in the 12th century. Mongol raiders razed Kiev in the 13th century.

Most of the territory of what is modern Ukraine was annexed by Poland and Lithuania in the 14th century, but during that time, Ukrainians began to conceive of themselves as a distinct people, a feeling that survived subsequent partitioning by greater powers over the next centuries. Ukrainian peasants who fled the Polish effort to force them into servitude came to be known as Cossacks and earned a reputation for their fierce martial spirit and love of freedom. In 1667, Ukraine was partitioned between Poland and Russia. In 1793, when Poland was partitioned, much of modern-day Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire.

The 19th century found the region largely agricultural, with a few cities and centers of trade and learning. The region was under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the extreme west and the Russian Empire elsewhere. Ukrainian writers and intellectuals were inspired by the nationalistic spirit stirring other European peoples existing under other imperial governments and were determined to revive Ukrainian linguistic and cultural traditions and reestablish a Ukrainian state. Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), national hero of Ukraine, presented the intellectual maturity of the Ukrainian language and culture through his work as a poet and artist. Imperial Russia, however, imposed strict limits on attempts to elevate Ukrainian culture, even banning the use and study of the Ukrainian language.

When World War I and the Russian revolution shattered the Habsburg and Russian empires, Ukrainians declared independent statehood. In 1917 the Central Rada proclaimed Ukrainian autonomy and in 1918, following the Bolshevik seizure of power in Petrograd, the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence under President Mykhaylo Hrushevsky. After three years of conflict and civil war, however, the western part of Ukrainian territory was incorporated into Poland, while the larger, central and eastern regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922 as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The Ukrainian national idea persevered during the twenties, but with Stalin's rise to power and the campaign for collectivization, the Soviet leadership imposed a campaign of terror that ravaged the intellectual class. Stalin also created an artificial famine (called the Holodomor in Ukrainian) as part of his forced collectivization policies, which killed millions of previously independent peasants and others throughout the country. Estimates of deaths from the 1932-33 famine alone range from 3 million to 7 million.

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, some Ukrainians, particularly in the west, welcomed what they saw as liberation from Communist rule, but this did not last as they quickly came to understand the nature of Nazi rule. Nazi brutality was directed principally against Ukraine's Jews (of whom an estimated 1 million were killed), but also against many other Ukrainians. Babyn Yar in Kiev was the site of one of the most horrific Nazi massacres of Ukrainian Jews, ethnic Ukrainians, and many others. Kiev and other parts of the country were heavily damaged.

After the Nazi and Soviet invasions of Poland in 1939, the western Ukrainian regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union. Armed resistance against Soviet authority continued as late as the 1950s. During periods of relative liberalization--as under Nikita Khrushchev from 1955 to 1964 and during the period of "perestroika" under Mikhail Gorbachev -- Ukrainian communists pursued nationalist objectives. The 1986 explosion at the Chornobyl (Chernobyl in Russian) nuclear power plant, located in the Ukrainian SSR, and the Soviet government's initial efforts to conceal the extent of the catastrophe from its own people and the world, was a watershed for many Ukrainians in exposing the severe problems of the Soviet system. Ukraine became an independent state on August 24, 1991, and was a co-founder of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, although it has not officially joined the organization.

Ukraine has a presidential/parliamentary system of government with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The president nominates the prime minister, who must be confirmed by the parliament. The 450-member unicameral parliament (Supreme Rada) initiates legislation, ratifies international agreements, and approves the budget. Its members are elected to four-year terms. Following free elections held on December 1, 1991, Leonid M. Kravchuk, former chairman of the Ukrainian Rada, was elected president for a five-year term. At the same time, a referendum on independence was approved by more than 90% of the voters. Political groupings in Ukraine include former communists, socialists, agrarians, liberals, nationalists and various centrist and independent forces.

Shortly after becoming independent, Ukraine named a parliamentary commission to prepare a new constitution, adopted a multi-party system, and adopted legislative guarantees of civil and political rights for national minorities. A new, democratic constitution was adopted on June 28, 1996, which mandates a pluralistic political system with protection of basic human rights and liberties.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by law, although religious organizations are required to register with local authorities and with the central government. Minority rights are respected in accordance with a 1991 law guaranteeing ethnic minorities the right to schools and cultural facilities and the use of national languages in conducting personal business. According to the constitution, Ukrainian is the only official state language. In Crimea and some parts of eastern Ukraine -- areas with substantial ethnic Russian minorities -- ocal and regional governments permit Russian as a language for local official correspondence.

Freedom of speech and press are guaranteed by law and by the constitution, but authorities sometimes interfere with the news media through intimidation and other forms of pressure. In particular, the failure of the government to conduct a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation into the 2000 disappearance and murder of independent journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, in which government officials have been credibly implicated, has had a negative effect on Ukraine's international image.

Ethnic tensions in Crimea during 1992 prompted a number of pro-Russian political organizations to advocate secession of Crimea and annexation to Russia. (Crimea was ceded by the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954, in recognition of historic links and for economic convenience, to mark the 300th anniversary of Ukraine's union with Russia.) In July 1992, the Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments determined that Crimea would remain under Ukrainian jurisdiction while retaining significant cultural and economic autonomy.

Official trade unions have been grouped under the Federation of Trade Unions. A number of independent unions, which emerged during 1992, among them the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine, have formed the Consultative Council of Free Trade Unions. While the right to strike is legally guaranteed, strikes based solely on political demands are prohibited.

In July 1994, Leonid Kuchma was elected as Ukraine's second president in free and fair elections. Kuchma was reelected in November 1999 to another five-year term, with 56 percent of the vote. International observers criticized aspects of the election, especially slanted media coverage; however, the outcome of the vote was not called into question. In March 2002, Ukraine held its most recent parliamentary elections, which were characterized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as flawed, but an improvement over the 1998 elections. The pro-presidential For a United Ukraine bloc won the largest number of seats, followed by the reformist Our Ukraine bloc of former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, and the Communist Party. There are 450 seats in parliament, with half chosen from party lists by proportional vote and half from individual constituencies.

Security forces are controlled by the president, although they are subject to investigation by a permanent parliamentary commission. Surveillance is permitted for reasons of national security.

Ukraine established its own military forces of about 780,000 from the troops and equipment inherited from the Soviet Union.  It has reduced this figure to approximately 295,000 (plus 90,000 civilian workers in the Ministry of Defense), with the goal of further reductions to around 275,000 by 2005. Ukraine's stated national policy is Euro-Atlantic integration, including with both NATO and the European Union. Ukraine has a Distinctive Partnership with NATO and has been an active participant in Partnership for Peace exercises and in Balkans peacekeeping. Ukrainian units have been serving in Kosovo, in the U.S. sector, and in Iraq, in the Polish-led division.

Principal Government Officials
President--Leonid Kuchma
Prime Minister--Viktor Yanukovych
Foreign Minister--Kostyantin Hryshchenko

Ukraine maintains an embassy at 3350 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-333-0606)

Ukraine has many of the components of a major European economy -- rich farmlands, a well-developed industrial base, highly trained labor, and a good education system. After eight straight years of sharp economic decline from the early to late 1990s, the standard of living for most citizens declined more than 50%, leading to widespread poverty. In the last four years economic growth has resumed averaging 5-6% per year and personal incomes have begun to rise. The macro economy is stable, with the hyperinflation of the early post-Soviet period having been tamed. Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, was introduced in September 1996, and has remained stable. While economic growth continues, Ukraine's long-term economic prospects depend on acceleration of market reforms. The economy remains burdened by excessive government regulation, corruption, and lack of law enforcement, and while small and medium enterprises have been largely privatized, much remains to be done to restructure and privatize key sectors such as energy and telecommunications.

Ukraine is rich in natural resources. It has a major ferrous metal industry, producing cast iron, steel, and steel pipe, and its chemical industry produces coke, mineral fertilizers, and sulfuric acid. Manufactured goods include airplanes, turbines, metallurgical equipment, diesel locomotives, and tractors. It also is a major producer of grain, sunflower seeds and sugar and has a broad industrial base, including much of the former USSR's space and rocket industry. Although oil and natural gas reserves are small, it has important energy sources, such as coal, and large mineral deposits.

Ukraine encourages foreign trade and investment. The parliament has approved a foreign investment law allowing Westerners to purchase businesses and property, to repatriate revenue and profits, and to receive compensation in the event that property were to be nationalized by a future government. However, complex laws and regulations, poor corporate governance, weak enforcement of contract law by courts and corruption stymie large-scale foreign direct investment in Ukraine. While there is a functioning stock market, the lack of protection for minority shareholder rights severely restricts portfolio investment activities. Total foreign direct investment in Ukraine is approximately $6.04 billion as of October 2003, which, at $126 per capita, is still one of the lowest figures in the region.

While countries of the former Soviet Union remain important trading partners, especially Russia and Turkmenistan for energy imports, Ukraine's trade is becoming more diversified. An overcrowded world steel market threatens prospects for Ukraine's principal exports of non-agricultural goods such as ferrous metals and other steel products, while exports of machinery and machine tools are on the rise. Ukraine imports 90% of its oil and most of its natural gas. Russia ranks as Ukraine's principal supplier of oil and Russian firms now own and/or operate the majority of Ukraine's refining capacity. Natural gas imports come from Russia (which delivers natural gas as a barter payment for Ukraine's role in transporting Russian gas to Western Europe) and Turkmenistan (from which Ukraine purchases natural gas for a combination of cash and barter). While Ukraine's long running dispute with Russia over approximately $1.4 billion in arrears on past gas sales appeared to have been solved through a complex repayment agreement involving Eurobonds to be issued by Ukraine's national oil and gas monopoly (NaftoHaz Ukrainy) to Russia's GazProm by the end of 2003, Russia has not yet accepted the bonds, so the issue remains open. Reform of the inefficient and opaque energy sector is a major objective of the IMF and World Bank programs with Ukraine.

Ukraine is negotiating with the IMF on a precautionary stand-by facility. Dealing with large arrears in VAT refunds to exporters remains the principal issue hindering final approval of a facility. The GOU is also in talks with the World Bank on a Second Programmatic adjustment loan, and loans have been approved for a land registration system and to modernize tax administration. In 1992, Ukraine became a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development but not a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (WTO). While Ukraine applied for WTO membership, its accession process has moved slowly. A working party meeting in October 2003 agreed to review elements of a draft working party report at the next meeting. The government's stated goal is to accede to the WTO by the end of 2004.

Environmental Issues
Ukraine is interested in cooperating on regional environmental issues. Conservation of natural resources is a stated high priority, although implementation suffers from a lack of financial resources. Ukraine established its first nature preserve, Askanyia-Nova, in 1921 and has a program to breed endangered species.

Ukraine has significant environmental problems, especially those resulting from the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986 and from industrial pollution. In accordance with its previously announced plans, Ukraine permanently closed the Chornobyl Atomic Energy Station in December of 2000. Design work as well as structural improvements to the "sarcophagus" erected by the Soviet Union are largely complete and construction on the new shelter is scheduled to begin in 2004.

Ukraine also has established a Ministry of Environment and has introduced a pollution fee system, which levies taxes on air and water emissions and solid waste disposal. The resulting revenues are channeled to environmental protection activities, but enforcement of this pollution fee system is lax.

Proposals to build a transport canal through UN protected core biosphere in the Danube Delta have become an environmental issue of international interest.

Ukraine considers Euro-Atlantic integration its primary foreign policy objective, but in practice balances its relationship with Europe and the United States with strong ties to Russia. The European Union's Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Ukraine went into force on March 1, 1998. The EU has encouraged Ukraine to implement the PCA fully before discussions begin on an association agreement. The EU Common Strategy toward Ukraine, issued at the EU Summit in December 1999 in Helsinki, recognizes Ukraine's long-term aspirations but does not discuss association. On January 31, 1992, Ukraine joined the then-Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (now the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- OSCE), and on March 10, 1992, it became a member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Ukraine also has a Distinctive Partnership with NATO and has declared interest in eventual membership. It is the most active member of the Partnership for Peace (PfP).

Ukraine maintains peaceful and constructive relations with all its neighbors; it has especially close ties with Poland and Russia. Relations with Russia are complicated by energy dependence, payment arrears, and a dispute over bilateral boundaries in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. The 1998 ratification of the bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and a series of agreements on the final division and disposition of the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet have helped to reduce tensions. Ukraine co-founded the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on December 8, 1991, but in January 1993 it refused to endorse a draft charter strengthening political, economic, and defense ties among CIS members. Ukraine was a founding member of GUUAM (Georgia-Ukraine-Uzbekistan-Azerbaijan-Moldova).

In 1999-2001, Ukraine served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Historically, Soviet Ukraine joined the United Nations in 1945 as one of the original members following a Western compromise with the Soviet Union, which had asked for seats for all 15 of its union republics. Ukraine has consistently supported peaceful, negotiated settlements to disputes. It has participated in the quadripartite talks on the conflict in Moldova and promoted a peaceful resolution to conflict in the post-Soviet state of Georgia. Ukraine has also made a substantial contribution to UN peacekeeping operations since 1992.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and created an opportunity to build bilateral relations with the New Independent States (NIS) as they began a political and economic transformation. On December 25, 1991, the United States officially recognized the independence of Ukraine. It upgraded its consulate in the capital, Kiev, to embassy status on January 21, 1992. The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is John E. Herbst, the fifth U.S. ambassador since Ukrainian independence.

The United States attaches great importance to the success of Ukraine's transition to a democratic state with a flourishing market economy. Following a period of economic decline characterized by high inflation and a continued reliance on state controls, the Ukrainian government began taking steps in the fall of 1999 to reinvigorate economic reform that had been stalled for years due to a lack of a reform majority in the Ukrainian parliament. The Ukrainian government's stated determination to implement comprehensive economic reform is a welcome development, and the U.S. is committed to strengthening its support for Ukraine as it continues on this difficult path. Bilateral relations suffered a setback in September 2002 when the U.S. Government announced it had authenticated a recording of President Kuchma's July 2000 decision to transfer a Kolchuga early warning system to Iraq. The GOU denied that the transfer had occurred. U.S. policy remains centered on realizing and strengthening a democratic, prosperous, and secure Ukraine more closely integrated into European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

U.S. Assistance to Ukraine
A cornerstone for the continuing U.S. partnership with Ukraine and the other NIS has been the Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets (FREEDOM) Support Act (FSA), enacted in October 1992. Ukraine has been a primary recipient of FSA assistance. Total U.S. assistance since independence has been more than $3 billion. U.S. assistance to Ukraine is targeted to promote political and economic reform and to address urgent humanitarian needs. The U.S. has consistently encouraged Ukraine's transition to a democratic society with a prosperous market-based economy. For more detailed information on these programs, please see the "Annual Report to Congress on U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union," which is available on the State Department's website at the following address: Information on assistance for the current fiscal year is available on the State Department's website at the address: (currently under construction). Information is also available on USAID's website at the address:

[Fact sheet on FY 2003 U.S. Assistance to Ukraine.]

Assistance To Support Ukraine's Transition to a Market Economy. U.S. technical assistance in this area has focused primarily on economic restructuring, tax and budget reforms, development of the private sector, and energy-sector reform. U.S. assistance priorities for Ukraine have included enterprise development, deregulation, macroeconomic reform, privatization of the electricity sub-sector, and nuclear safety. U.S. advisers have provided technical assistance in financial sector reform and capital markets development, tax policy and administration, bank training, accounting reform, accession to the World Trade Organization, land ownership, corporate governance, small and medium-scale enterprise development, municipal services reform, agricultural development and agribusiness, privatization of the electric power sector, energy pricing and efficiency, and public education about market reforms.

Assistance to Support Ukraine's Agricultural Economy and Entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship and the small and medium-enterprise sector are closely tied to the future of the agricultural economy in Ukraine. Considerable support has been provided to the Ukrainian SME and agricultural sectors under past U.S. assistance programs, and programs continue in three primary areas: 1) building business and farmer associations, deregulation and policy reform; 2) increasing access to credit; and 3) developing business and management skills through "one-stop shops." The U.S. Government has been instrumental in assisting the privatization of agricultural land and the issuance of land titles. The collective farm system has been eliminated and 6.75 million former collective farm members received the right to hold land titles. More industry is also being privately managed, particularly in agribusiness, where privatization of medium-sized companies is now virtually complete. U.S. Government assistance in agriculture will focus on issuing legal titles to landowners, improving access to credit, strengthening business and farmer associations and improving agricultural markets.

Assistance To Support Ukraine's Transition to Democracy. The U.S. is promoting Ukraine's democratic transition by supporting programs on participatory political systems, independent media, rule of law, local governance, and civil society, as well as a wide range of exchanges and training. USAID has provided Ukraine with technical assistance related to elections, the development of political parties and grassroots civic organizations, the development of independent media and municipal services reform. USAID has been working with Ukrainian officials and nonprofit organizations to create a legal system supportive of a democratic government and a market-based economy. The State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is promoting cooperation between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their Ukrainian counterparts to reform Ukraine's criminal justice system. In 1997, the U.S. Government launched a special initiative to combat trafficking in women and children from Ukraine, including efforts to promote economic alternatives for vulnerable populations, increase public awareness, and provide support for victims. See the Department of State's website at

At the 1999 meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Binational Commission in Washington, the U.S. announced the Next Generation Initiative, with a target of doubling the number of participants in key exchange programs and refocusing U.S. assistance on Ukraine's youth. Such programs as the Future Leaders Exchange (secondary school students), FSA Graduate-Muskie Fellowships, and the FSA Undergraduate program, as well as programs aimed at teachers, have maintained expanded participant levels during the most recent fiscal years. In addition, professional exchanges (International Visitors, Community Connections) continue to bring hundreds of Ukrainians to the U.S. each year. Between 1993 and 2003, the U.S. Government brought nearly 20,000 Ukrainians to the U.S. for long-term study or short-term professional training.

Exchange programs have enabled Ukrainian entrepreneurs, journalists, academics, local government officials, and other professionals to participate in a broad range of programs that focus on U.S. experience in fields of importance to Ukraine's democratic and market transition. In addition, the Embassy's Democracy Small Grants Program and Media Development Fund offer direct grant support to non-governmental organizations and non-state media outlets to carry out projects that contribute to democratic and market reforms and improved access to information.

Since 1992 the U.S. Commerce Department's Special American Business Internship (SABIT) Program together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cochran Fellowship Program and Faculty Exchange Program have brought 956 Ukrainian business executives, scientists, agriculturalists and agricultural educators to the U.S. for internships and training programs. USAID's participant training program provides opportunities for over 1,500 Ukrainians working with NGOs, promoting economic reform and democracy to visit the U.S. and other countries each year. A $5 million joint U.S.-EU civil society project is supporting civic education, NGO development, good governance and parliamentary exchanges, expanding Ukraine's contacts with Americans and Europeans. This project is now largely completed, but its goals continue to be met through many of the programs described above.

Peace Corps Volunteers are working in Ukraine with a focus on small-business development and English teaching, and the Embassy is actively engaged with Ukrainian educators at all levels to support new approaches to teaching and learning.

Assistance to Strengthen Ukraine's Civil Society. Ukraine has turned a crucial corner in terms of the strength and influence of civil society, but these gains still need to be consolidated and strengthened. U.S. assistance provides technical assistance and training to a wide variety of civic organizations to help them become better advocates for their constituencies, to reduce reliance on donor funding by creating closer links to their own communities, to create greater reliance on the local community for funds and volunteers, and to improve transparency by training civic organizations about conflict of interest, board management and financial management. In addition, the FREEDOM Support Act program supports research and public opinion polls undertaken by think tanks and seeks to improve the legal and regulatory framework related to freedom of association and speech. Grant programs also support the development of civil society and independent media and facilitate access to information through the Internet. In the media sector, U.S. assistance supports TV, radio and print media outlets, with an emphasis on strengthening regional news outlets by training journalists, news editors, and station managers, as well as NGOs that support the media.

Support for the Social Sector. The U.S. is assisting Ukraine's efforts to ameliorate some of the social consequences of the transition to a market economy in order to sustain social welfare and stability. To this end, USAID is providing assistance to local governments in redefining the roles of the public and private sectors in providing social services to allow government to focus limited resources on key social sectors. Training and technical assistance are being provided to Ukrainian institutions and government agencies on reforms of health care financing and delivery of medical services. A number of medical partnerships between U.S. and Ukrainian health care institutions have been established to improve both patient care and institutional management. Also, USAID is providing training and technical assistance on ways to improve reproductive health, focusing on providing family planning services and reducing the use of abortion. Finally, USAID has been instrumental in targeting GOU assistance to the most vulnerable groups. Its work in overhauling the public pension system was instrumental in helping the GOU ensure prompt pension payments to eligible retirees.

Humanitarian Assistance. Since 1992, the U.S. State Department's Operation Provide Hope has provided more than $416 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. In 1999, the Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to the NIS expended $3.8 million in transportation and grant funds to deliver $77 million in humanitarian assistance to targeted groups in Ukraine. In 1999, Operation Provide Hope funded a total of six humanitarian airlifts and 544 deliveries via surface transportation. A total of $18.5 million in U.S. Defense Department excess medical equipment, supplies, and pharmaceuticals was delivered and distributed during the 1999 August-October period to 18 hospitals and clinics in Ukraine's Kharkiv Oblast (Region). The U.S. has repeatedly responded to major disasters; since 1994 USAID's disaster assistance has helped victims of fifteen major natural and man-made disasters, including floods, mudslides and mine explosions. In August 2002, the U.S. Government provided medical equipment worth $50,000 to the city of Lviv after the worst air show disaster on record. In addition, USAID has provided over $128 million in humanitarian assistance since 1994, reaching over three million of Ukraine's most vulnerable people.

Bilateral Trade Issues. The U.S.-Ukraine Trade Agreement, effective June 22, 1992, provides reciprocal most-favored-nation tariff treatment to the products of each country. Since January 1994, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has approved investment insurance totaling more than $23 million for three projects in Ukraine. OPIC also has sponsored conferences and exchanges to encourage joint ventures between U.S. and Ukrainian companies. Unfortunately, OPIC operations in Ukraine are currently suspended pending the resolution of a dispute involving the expropriation of an OPIC-insured investment. U.S. Export-Import Bank signed a project incentive agreement with the Ukrainian Government in 1999 but has yet to approve any projects in Ukraine.

Security Issues. In Lisbon on May 23, 1992, the United States signed a protocol to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan (those states on whose territory strategic nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union were located). The protocol makes each state a party to the START Treaty and commits all signatories to reductions in strategic nuclear weapons within the seven-year period provided for in the treaty. Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan also agreed to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear weapons states. The treaty entered into force on December 5, 1994, the same day Ukraine acceded to the NPT.

Security-Related Assistance. Through FY 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense provided more than $675 million under its Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR or "Nunn-Lugar") Program to eliminate strategic nuclear delivery systems in Ukraine. CTR activities facilitated START I implementation and have eliminated, removed, or rendered inoperable all strategic nuclear weapons systems in Ukraine, including the SS-19 and SS-24 ballistic missiles and associated silos and launch control centers, heavy bombers, and air-launched cruise missiles of the Soviet 43rd Rocket Army. Another $6 million has been set aside for anticipated projects associated with biotechnology proliferation prevention. The U.S. has provided nearly $11 million to assist Ukraine in establishing and improving its export control and related border security system. With the March 2003 passage of an export control law, the legal structure is in place in Ukraine, but serious holes remain in the country's export control system and the system can still be circumvented. There is no independent oversight body, and enforcement and prosecution of export control violations remains problematic. In addition, the U.S. has provided Ukraine more than $40 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to promote military reform and advance Ukraine's ability to participate in NATO Partnership for Peace activities, including peacekeeping in Kosovo, and in the stabilization of Iraq.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--John E. Herbst
Deputy Chief of Mission--Marie Yovanovitch
Political Counselor--Aubrey Carlson
Economic Counselor--Necia Quast
Public Affairs Counselor--Janet Demiray
Consul General-- MaryKay Loss Carlson
Management Counselor--Jennifer Bonner
Commercial Officer--Frank Carrico
USAID Mission Director--Christopher Crowley
Agricultural Attache--Margaret Thursland
Defense Attache--Colonel Terron Nelsen
Peace Corps Director--Karl Beck

The U.S. Embassy in Kiev is at 10 Yuriya Kotsyubinskoho Street, 01901 (tel. [380] (44) 490-4000). The Embassy's website is:

For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.

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