In addition, following the fall of pro-Moscow President Yanukovych, after abandoning a deal with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, Russia annexed Crimea and caused an even greater social and economic crisis in Ukraine in early 2014.
A survey conducted among adults in Ukraine amidst the civil unrest showed that half of the population wanted Crimea to be declared an autonomous republic within Ukraine.
Due to the richness of its soil, the advantageous climate and its strategic location near to the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, Ukraine has been a much desired land for Russia.
The total population in Ukraine has been steadily decreasing and is estimated to decrease further over the next few years.
Are they still struggling with where their interests lie? Like the old Soviet Union, this one is incomplete without Ukraine.
However, their relationship hasn’t always been peaceful: Since gaining its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has sought to establish closer relations with Western Europe as well as reconcile with Russia, the country which supplies most of Ukraine's energy.
But in 2014, pro-Russian separatists seized regions in eastern Ukraine which caused a civil war.
A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and later merged fully into Russia.
During the 20th century three periods of independence occurred.