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Excluding Crimea, Ukraine 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.
Ukraine is currently in territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014 making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.It is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Council of Europe, OSCE, GUAM, and one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).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, 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.
The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus' toward Byzantine Christianity.
During the reign of his son, Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054), Kievan Rus' reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power.
Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative, executive and judicial branches. Taking into account reserves and paramilitary personnel, 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians "by ethnicity", followed by a sizeable minority of Russians (17.3 percent) as well as Romanians/Moldovans, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians and Hungarians.
Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic.
At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.