Map Monday: this sovereign nation called Ukraine

As the world watches in horror as a megalomaniacal tyrant re-enacts what our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents lived through in Europe in the last century, it’s impossible to contemplate writing about anything but the travesty – the evil – that is unfolding in Ukraine.  How foolish we were to think that this couldn’t happen again.  How foolish we were to think that Europe really could exist in peace.  The only bright signs are how strong the Ukrainian resistance is proving to be and how the world is working together to isolate Putin and his horrifying act of invading a sovereign nation with no provocation whatsoever.  It’s Map Monday, and we need a few maps to tell Ukraine’s story. [Click on any map to see it in greater detail.]


Ukraine is a country of approximately 44 million people.  To put that in perspective, its neighbour Poland has a population of 38 million people and Canada, which has a large number of citizens of Ukrainian heritage, has a population of 38.3 million.  So Ukraine is home to many people, all deserving of peace in their homeland.  Its capital city of Kyiv (Kiev) has a population of 2.8 million and its second largest city, Kharkiv, also under attack from Russian forces and bombs, has a population of 1.43 million.


Ukraine is a country with a very complex history, which isn’t surprising when you see where it lies on the map of Europe.  Over many centuries, various ethnic groups migrated east and west across that land and several stayed to make it their home.  Different empires have risen over those centuries and claimed bits and pieces of this land as their own, until each empire fell.  This land eventually became Ukraine.  It’s the story of how borders were formed in many parts of Europe.

Ukraine first claimed its independence as a sovereign state as we know it at the conclusion of the Ukrainian War of Independence, which lasted from 1917-1921.  It wasn’t a long independence; Ukraine was made a state within the USSR in 1922. It regained its status as an independent country upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.



This map below shows Crimea as having been added to Ukraine in 1954. Of course, it was “subtracted” again by Putin in 2014.


The maps that follow give a bit of a picture of the diversity of Ukraine today.



This map shows where the Russian forces were unleashing their illegal military attacks on February 26.

MM-Ukn-Russianheldor supported

And this updated map shows the horrific Russian incursions as of March 2.

We pray for a successful outcome for the proud and sovereign country of Ukraine, and for all Ukrainians, both at home and as part of the large diaspora around the world.  This is an unprovoked attack on freedom and sovereignty everywhere; it cannot be allowed to succeed.  The sad reality is that incalculable damage and loss of life will occur regardless.  I weep for the world, yet again.

Image sources: Wikipedia, Wikimedia, iNews, Pinterest

This entry was posted in History and Politics, Map Monday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Map Monday: this sovereign nation called Ukraine

  1. boblorentson says:

    Thanks for the history. This all leaves me rather horrified and speechless too. And humorless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AP2 says:

    It is a deeply disturbing time. Suddenly we have been thrown back to the 1940s. I agree – this one cannot be allowed to stand. Thank for the great history lesson Jane. And for fighting the good fight 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such an excellent post. While I more or less knew where all the countries were, seeing them on the map was very helpful. What a horror the invasion is, and how it will end we do not know. In the meantime, around the world we wait in dread, hoping against hope that Chance will be on Ukraine’s side.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rose says:

    Thank you Jane for giving us a history lesson, supported with maps. This War seems like insanity. Even after studying as much history of the area as I can, I’m still puzzled. I wish there were more us ‘regular people’ could do to help stop it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I think the groundswell of disgust at Putin and support for Ukraine right around the world is actually having quite a profound effect on isolating Putin and harming Russia. Not exactly what he had in mind. If what he had in mind was to go down in the history books as the great Russian empire rebuilder, then I think he will have achieved quite the opposite, but at such a heartbreaking cost for Ukraine and its people.


  5. This current situation (war) certainly shows the worst side of humanity and the hubris of megalomania as we watch this unfold. However, as much as we try, I don’t really think we can empathize with the horrors of what these people are experiencing. Certainly I can sit here in my comfortable surroundings, see the horrific pictures/videos, first hand accounts and feel sympathy but not having experienced those conditions I think belies the realities.


    • Jane Fritz says:

      Well, Wayne, if you mean by ‘we cannot empathize’ that we cannot fully comprehend the totality of the horror the people under siege are experiencing, then of course I agree. Similarly, we can never fully understand the horror of living through famine, or ongoing war like the ones in Syria, Yemen, or Somalia, or the multitudes in refugee camps without enough to eat or any hope for a future. Nor can we put ourselves in the place of people who have lost everything from a tsunami or other catastrophic event of nature. We can’t feel the depth of pain, fear, or anguish, but we sure can try. And we sure can reach out to do whatever we can. In this particular case, along with witnessing (yes, from afar) yet more cruel and needless destruction of lives, buildings, and infrastructure, we are witnessing the destruction of the post-Cold War belief that peace in Europe was possible. In a matter of days, after all these decades of thinking these actions could be avoided, Sweden and Finland are talking of joining NATO, Germany is increasing its defence budget and supplying weapons to another nation, and Switzerland is joining in applying banking sanctions. Existential realities.


  6. Wonderer says:

    Thank you, Jane, excellent Ukrainian history in maps. There is also a significant Crimean Tatars population in Crimea, they certainly didn’t want Crimea to be under Putin in 2014 and now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Wonderer. The Crimean Tartars are an excellent example of the consequences, unintended or otherwise, of imperialism (territorial expansion, border realignment). Thanks for reminding me. There are always victims/losers in these situations. It never seems to change, does it? 😥


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  8. Thanks Jane, this adds to my understanding of the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this informative post, Jane. For once, I am glad my parents are dead and don’t have to watch this unfold. They were children in Nazi-occupied Holland, and WW2 scarred them both for life. And the reverberations of that were felt by the following generation (me and my sisters) as well.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Oh my, Deb, so you can understand the enormity of the trauma being inflicted on Ukrainians even more than many of us. And tor so long we tried to convince ourselves that something like this couldn’t happen again. It’s hard not to despair.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. heimdalco says:

    What a timely, heart-wrenching post. Seeing the maps made the situation in that lovely country even more clear. When I was cooking dinner last night my mind kept going back to Ukraine, what it is enduring & how helpless I feel. We have food .. as much as we want & can afford & a lovely kitchen, working appliances that are undamaged by bombs, have a lovely home where we can be comfortable & mostly safe instead of packing up all we can carry & moving into the bowels of a subway with our pets & family members that aren’t separated from us fighting a viciously attacking army. If we don’t realize the many blessings we have, we are somehow less than human. In my country ANY politician who thinks these attacks on a peaceful people are led by a talented leader with excellent strategy has a special place reserved in hell. My heart also weeps … again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. BernieLynne says:

    The borders moved around a lot in the historical context. I read a first hand account last night of a woman born in a small village in western Ukraine in 1938 and her life before, during and after the war. One must always remember, and I think leaders forget that, these decisions affect real people. Putin is even making life more difficult for his own people with his actions. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I’m not sure most “leaders” give that a lot of thought, especially the one currently in question. He has ordered full on attacks, destroying major buildings, infrastructure, and innocent men, women, and children. They are the pawns in his power-grabbing chess game. You’re right, he is making life much more difficult for everyday Russians. And his plan is to blame it all on the evil west. It’s all sad beyond belief, and it’s like a broken record. Just ask the Syrians or the Afghans. 😥


      • BernieLynne says:

        No doubt about it leaders don’t see the people but perhaps the Russians will eventually make him notice that they are not happy with this turn of events. It sure puts Ottawa in focus doesn’t it? In Ukraine they fight to be free and in Russia they are arrested for attending demonstrations — by the hundreds they are arrested.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Dr. John Persico Jr. says:

    Reblogged this on Aging Capriciously and commented:
    A very thoughtful analysis of the Ukrainian crisis by Robby Robyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dr. John Persico Jr. says:

    Thanks Jane for the great summary. I reposted on my website. Hoping more people will understand what is happening. This is a human tragedy brought on by the moronic politicians that we elect to lead us. As always, it is the average person that suffers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wm. Allen says:

    This is extremely informative and so well done. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. Thank you for sharing your perspectives along with these maps. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this horror.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for this succint and comprehensive glimpse of the history and geography of Ukraine, Jane. I think peace has always been fragile, despite the hard work gone into maintaining it by civilized, reasonably sane leaders. Sadly, too many of the crazies have achieved power over the decades. I told my 27-year-old son that I’ve never known a world without a war somewhere, but this one feels closer and riskier for the entire world than perhaps earlier conflicts have. I pray that this will somehow end soon and without victory for the psychotic nutjob who started this whole thing.


    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Debra. Your observations are dead on. This one does feel “closer” for those reasons. And I must admit to feeling uneasy to feeling that way, thinking of the never-ending assaults on Syria by their own leader, with help from the very same Russia. Or the Afghans, Somalians, and before that the Vietnamese. Perhaps the connection and visceral feelings we have about this horrific assault on Ukraine by Russia will allow us to connect more with the experiences of the literally millions of other innocent civilians around the world who have found themselves in similar circumstances.

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. Abdurrahman Zafar says:

    Thanks for sharing an informative information, I’ve been listening to the news until this this time. Very appreciative!

    Liked by 1 person

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