Ukraine is washed by the Black Sea (area 422 thousand km2, average depth 1271 m) and the Sea of Azov. The Sea of Azov is the inland, shallowest sea in the world, strongly protruding into the land. The area is 39 thousand km2, the depth is from 2 to 15 m, the average is 7.4 m; salinity 13-14%. The largest lakes (km2): Sasyk (Kunduk) (205), Yalpug (149), Kugurluy (94), Cahul (90).
According to Bridgat, the climate in most of Ukraine is temperate continental with some differences in the Carpathians and Crimean mountains. Continentality increases from west to east. On the southern coast of Crimea, the climate is close to dry subtropical (Mediterranean). Average temperatures in January are from -2°С in the west to -7.5°С in the north_east (up to +2–4°С on the southern coast of Crimea), in July from +18°С in the west to +22–24°С in the south. The amount of precipitation decreases from the northwest (700 mm/year) to the southeast (300 mm/year). In the Ukrainian Carpathians they fall more than 1500 mm/year, and in the Crimean mountains – 1000 mm. The maximum precipitation occurs during the warm period of the year. The average duration of the frost-free period is 170 days in the north of the country and 260-170 days in the south.
Ukraine is located in several latitudinal natural zones: mixed forests, forest-steppe, steppe, and in the mountains, natural zones replace each other depending on the height. Approximately 20% of the territory is occupied by the forest zone (Ukrainian Polissya), almost 34% – forest-steppe, 40% – steppe landscapes.
The main types of soils are associated with one or another natural zone: soddy-podzolic and soddy – in Polissya, in the zone of mixed forests; gray forest and dark gray podzolized soils are common in the forest-steppe zone, on the right bank of the Dnieper; the most fertile – chernozems formed under the steppes and separate areas of the forest-steppe, and chestnut soils, also very fertile, occur under areas of dry steppe vegetation, along depressions on the coast of the Black and Azov Seas, in the Crimea. Chernozems are the main natural wealth of Ukraine, they account for 57% of agricultural land and 67.7% of arable land.
Ukraine has significant mineral reserves. High-quality hard coals are concentrated in the Donetsk (Donbass) and Lvov-Volyn basins. Coal reserves in the Donbass up to a depth of 1800 m amount to 109 billion tons; industrial reserves of the Lvov-Volyn basin – 1 billion tons. Brown coal deposits are concentrated in the Dnieper brown coal basin (total reserves – 3.8 billion tons). Coal seams in the Donbass are thin, their complex and deep occurrence makes it difficult to extract and increases the cost of fuel. The national coal mining industry is in deep crisis: approx. 70% of mines are subject to closure as unprofitable. Own oil resources cover the internal needs of the economy by 15-20%, gas – by 25%. The main oil and gas bearing regions are the Carpathians and the Black Sea-Crimean oil and gas region, including the Black Sea shelf. Prospective oil reserves are 334 million tons (own production in 2002 is 4.2 million tons), gas is 1.65 trillion m3. There are also peat (in Polissia) and fairly large deposits of oil shale (in the Kirovograd and Chernigov regions).
Deposits of various metal ores are of great intra-economic and export importance. The total reserves of iron ore are more than 27 billion tons; they are concentrated in the Krivoy Rog and Kerch basins, as well as in the Kremenchug and Belozersky iron ore regions. Manganese deposits have been explored and exploited (the Nikopol basin is one of the largest in the world), zirconium, nickel, uranium, tin, copper, titanium, and mercury ores. There are promising reserves of polymetallic and gold-bearing ores.
Of the non-metallic minerals, graphite reserves are important (Kirovograd, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk,
Donetsk region); phosphorites and native sulfur (Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions); rock salt (Donbass, Crimea, Ciscarpathia and Transcarpathia); magnesium and potassium salts, refractory clays; natural stone building materials – granites, gabbro, basalts, labradorites (Zhytomyr region), marble and chalk – Crimea. Ukraine has the world’s largest deposits of ozokerite (mountain wax) in the Lviv region. Diamond-bearing rocks have been discovered in the Azov region, the industrial development of which is considered promising. Significant reserves of therapeutic mud are concentrated on the Kerch Peninsula, in the Odessa region. The waters of the Black and Azov Seas have medicinal value.
General information about Ukraine
The official name is the Republic of Ukraine. Located in the southeastern part of Europe. The area is 603.7 thousand km2, the population is 48.4 million people. (2002). The state language is Ukrainian. The capital is Kyiv (2.62 million people, 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day on August 24 (since 1991). The monetary unit is the hryvnia.
Member of international organizations: the UN (since 1945, the Ukrainian SSR was represented – the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was part of the USSR), the OSCE, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the CIS (since 1991), the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC, since 1992), the Council of Europe ( since 1995), EurAsEC (observer status since May 2002), GUUAM (since 1997), etc.