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Ukraine I . Introduction Ukraine , republic in Eastern Europe , bordered on the north by Belarus and Russia on the east by Russia on the south by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov on the south-west by Romania and Moldova and on the west by Hungary , Slovakia , and Poland . Formerly the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR ) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR , Ukraine is an associate member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS , which in December 1991 succeeded the USSR . It has withheld its agreement on payments and customs union , choosing “observer ‘ status at the CIS Intergovernmental Assembly . With a the second-largest country in Europe after Russia . Ukraine includes the Crimean Republic , which was elevated from an oblast to a constituent republic in 1991 . Kiev is the capital and largest city (see “Ukraine .Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge , pp . 567-572 , vol . 18 .II . Land Sources Almost the entire country of Ukraine is a vast flat plain , with elevations generally below 300 m (984 ft . The Carpathian Mountains intrude at the extreme west , and on the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula are the Crimean Mountains . The highest point in Ukraine is Mount Hoverla in the Carpathians , with an elevation of 2 ,061 m (6 ,762 ft .A . Rivers and Lakes Most major rivers flow south to the Black Sea they include the River Dnepr in central Ukraine , the Southern Bug and Dnestr rivers in the west , the River Donets in the east , and the Danube in the far south . The Western Bug , however , flows northward through the western part of the country and joins the Wis ?a , which empties into the Baltic Sea (see “Ukraine . Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge , pp . 567-572 , vol . 18 .B . Climate The climate of Ukraine is temperate continental , with a subtropical Mediterranean climate prevalent on the southern portions of the Crimean Peninsula . The average monthly temperature in winter ranges from -8 ? to 2 ? C (17 .6 ? to 35 .6 ? F , while summer temperatures average 17 ? to 25 ? C (62 .6 ? to 77 ? F . The Black Sea coast is subject to freezing , and no Ukrainian port is permanently ice-free . Precipitation generally decreases from north to south it is greatest in the Carpathians , where it exceeds more than 1 ,500 mm (58 .5 in ) per year , and least in the coastal lowlands of the Black Sea , where it averages less than 300 mm (11 .7 in ) per year (see “Ukraine . Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge ,pp . 567-572 , vol . 18 .C . Plants and Animals The original vegetation of the area formed three broad belts that crossed the territory of Ukraine latitudinally . Mixed forest vegetation occupied the northern third of the country , forest-steppe the middle portion , and steppe the southern third of the country . Now , however ,much of the original vegetation has been cleared and replaced by cultivated crops . Much of the original fauna has also disappeared , but many animal species still remain . Mammals include deer , beaver , and marten . Birds include the Eurasian black vulture , the steppe eagle , and…

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