Ukraine, an independent country, is situated in the south-eastern part of Central Europe. It borders on Russia, Byelorussia, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Poland on land, as well as Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey on sea.
The territory of Ukraine is mostly a level, treeless plain, called "steppe". There are the Crimean Mountains in the Crimean peninsula and the Carpathians in the west. Mixed forests of pine and fir-trees, beeches, limes, oaks, and elms cover the mountains, but the thickest woods can still be found in the northern part of the republic, in Volyn. Kiev and Cherkassy lie in the midst of Ukrainian’s southernmost pine forest. The main Ukrainian river is the Dnieper. It is one of the longest European rivers and one of the republic's main sources of hydroelectric power.
The climate of the country is moderate. Winter is rather mild, with no severe frosts but with regular snowfalls everywhere except the south. The rivers and lakes freeze in winter. The average winter temperature varies from -20 centigrade in the north to -5 centigrade in the south. Summer is quite hot and dry, with occasional showers and thunderstorms.
Due to favorable climatic conditions, Ukraine is traditionally an agricultural area. It grows wheat, maize, buckwheat and other corn, red and green vegetables, all kinds of fruit, melons, and berries.
Ukraine is one of the world's main centers of sugar production. It produces sugar for its own needs and for export.