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.
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