Ukraine 2022

Maps tell the past and present story of a land and people. Through video and dispatches we meet The Post’s eyewitnesses who are not embedded, yet send daily news reports, photographs and videos from across the country to tell the story of Ukrainians under siege. We also listen to experts and leaders to gain perspective.
Download Classroom Worksheets (PDF) 

Since February 2022, the world has turned its attention to this former Soviet republic. Ukraine’s history goes back to the 8th century when Scandinavian traders and settlers moved to its fertile soil. It is a country known as the breadbasket of Eastern Europe. as a summer seaside vacation spot in Odessa, as a cultural center in Lviv and as a vibrant capital city in Kviv. The azure blue wide horizontal field on its flag represents the sky, streams, and mountains of Ukraine. The yellow symbolizes its golden wheat fields and the richness of the earth.


It has been a country and people used as a battlefield by hordes, empires and power-seeking countries. Its borders have shifted through centuries. Its people wanting their own country, culture and independence. The sunflower, its national flower, has become a symbol of resistance, unity and hope as once again a power-hungry aggressor invades it to fulfill his aspirations.


In “The beginning of a Russian invasion,” Post foreign correspondent Isabelle Khurshudyan reported from eastern Ukraine: “On [Feb. 21], Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he is recognizing two separatist regions of Ukraine as independent. He ordered troops to ‘perform peacekeeping functions’ in those regions — which the United States and other allies say amounts to an invasion. On [Feb. 22], Biden called it a ‘flagrant violation of international law’ and announced a first round of sanctions, while saying he still hopes diplomacy is possible.”


On February 24, 2022, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Russian people, telling them that nearly 200,000 Russian troops were across the border. “If these forces attack us,” Zelensky warned, “if you attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives, the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. Not attack, defend.”


That same day Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.


The world has responded as reports, photographs, videos and social media posts have reached world leaders and organizations, as women, their children and pets have fled to countries on their western border. The local press and prominent news organizations have sent journalists and photojournalists to cover this large European country, its cities, towns and villages. They are not embedded with armies for protection. They seek shelter in hotel rooms, underground subway stations and bunkers. Through interpreters, their own knowledge of Ukrainian and Russian and the English-speaking Ukrainians they convey the preparations, the invasion scenes and personal stories.


This curriculum guide provides background with maps and text relating the history of the Ukraine and why Eastern Ukraine has an affinity for Russia. Articles explain NATO, SWIFT and sanctions; a background on culture and language. Post photographers and other photojournalists were dispatched to locations throughout the country. There were so many photographs, maps and informational graphics from which to select as The Post  ensured eyewitnesses to communicate. We hope we have selected representative ones for you to grasp what is taking place.


We have the first two weeks of the war in the pages of this curriculum guide. Use the information in BACKDROP as a foundation for understanding the forming of today’s culture, language and people of Ukraine. Use INVASION to inform your students of the coverage of the war and response to the invasion in photographs, editorials, commentary and editorial cartoons. Use PERSPECTIVE to explain legal, organizational and political actions taken as well as words to inspire.


For continued daily coverage read the pages of The Post and visit the online War in Ukraine: In videos and photos, a timeline of Russia’s war on Ukraine.



March 2022

Timelines, Maps, Videos
Resource Graphic 

Map It
Career Education, Current Events, Geography, U.S, History, World History

Maps of Ukraine, cities and villages, NATO countries, and troop movements have been an essential part of media coverage of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Cartographers use old maps, historical records, current road maps and the most up-to-date satellite images. Begin this activity with finding Ukraine on a world map. Discuss the countries that surround it.



In “How Ukraine became Ukraine, in 7 maps” then-Post cartographer Gene Thorp mapped 1,300 years of history. Produced in 2015 to give readers an understanding of what had taken place in Crimea, it is even more relevant today to grasp why Ukrainians want to keep their independence. Five questions for each era are provided in 7 Maps, 7 Eras in Ukraine’s Shifting Borders. Teachers may want to create 7 groups to do the research to share with the class. See Answers below.



How Ukraine’s terrain could influence a Russian invasion” is a large map of Ukraine illustrating potential routes of entry into Ukraine.  Online you will find “Wetlands and radioactive soil: How Ukraine’s geography could influence a Russian invasion” as an interactive map with explanation. [2.6.2022]



Visit The Post’s War in Ukraine up-to-date coverage and chronological archives.


Maps are part of the chronological timeline: “In maps, videos and photos, how Russia’s military push into Ukraine is unfolding on the ground.”


What Does NATO Have To Do With It
Current Events, U.S. History, World History

KidsPost provides an introduction to NATO in “What is NATO? War in Ukraine raises profile of the alliance.” For a more indepth explanation of the importance of NATO to a country like Ukraine and why NATO has not responded to recent applications to join, read and discuss : “How joining NATO and the E.U. became Ukraine’s unattainable dream.”


Older students might discuss these two quotations from organization leaders:

• “What has happened in the last few days has been a serious wake-up call for Europe, a serious wake-up call for the NATO alliance and, tragically and very sadly for Ukraine, a wake-up call too late in the day,” said Richard Dannatt, a retired general and former British army chief. “We should have seen what [Russian President] Vladimir Putin has been up to.”

• “For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday. “This is a watershed moment.”

A more in-depth study of world leaders and experts is found in the activity, Washington Post Live | World Stage: Ukraine.


“Denazify” a Country

Geography, World Language, World History

A small portion of eastern Ukraine is pro-Russian and has been the place of skirmishes for years. Read “Why are Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s Donbas region a flash point for Putin?


Putin justifies the Russian military advances on Ukraine because a “special military operation” is needed to protect people from the Nazification of Ukraine. Read and discuss “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim.”


Meet a Leader
Character Education, Journalism, World History

On March 1, 2022, The Post profiled the David facing the Goliath Putin. Read and discuss “What to know about Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s TV president turned wartime leader.”

Read and listen to The Post’s coverage of the Zelensky addressing British lawmakers in  “Zelensky receives standing ovation, calls for more support in address to U.K. Parliament via video” The BBC described the MPs “crammed into every corner. Members of the House of Lords packed the public galleries high in the chamber. Parliamentary staff huddled close to peer through the stone arches, almost in the roof, to watch. After a few minutes of chatter, with MPs fiddling with their headsets to ensure they would be able to hear the translation of the speech, there was hush.”


In addition to quoting Shakespeare, he did a take-off on Britain’s loved war-time leader: "We will not surrender, we will not lose, we will go to the end.

"We will fight at sea, we will fight in the air, we will protect our land.

"We will fight everywhere … and we will not surrender."

Read “Echoing Churchill, Zelenskyy vows Ukraine will fight to end.”


Zelensky asked for ammunition rather than be given safe passage out of Kyiv for himself and his family. Meet his wife in “Who is Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady and Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife?”



Language, Culture and Identity

English, Journalism, Music, Psychology, World History, World Languages

Read and discuss “The Ukrainian language is having a big moment.” Identity in One’s Language provides questions for a closer reading as well as a brief explanation of Putin’s allusion to fascism.


To explore more on the topic of language and culture, read:

• Benjamin Dreyer, Random House’s executive managing editor and copy chief, in a Post guest commentary shares reasons behind current usage in “Kyiv vs. Kiev, Zelensky vs. Zelenskyy, and the immense meaning of ‘the’.”

• For an example of the importance of culture and the arts to a country, read or listen to Sudarsan Raghavan’s “Music as resistance: Kyiv’s orchestra plays on.” The ensemble is composed of Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra musicians who remain in Kyiv.

• Perhaps, debate actions given in Alyssa Rosenberg’s column, “Two questions to ask before joining the culture war on Russia.”

• For more about the 2019 law that defines the Ukrainian language, visit “Ukraine adopts law expanding scope of Ukrainian language.” The law covers use of Ukrainian language in education, culture, the media, books, software and websites, and services.


Where Are You From?

Broadcast Journalism, Character Education, Journalism, Media Arts, Psychology

An extension of this article and the Ukrainian-Russian language debate would be for students to think more about personal identity. You might begin with an in-class journal  entry: Where are you from?


For more on identity, read It’s Been a Minute producer Anjuli Sastry Krbechek’s account of how she began the NPR series, “Where We Come From.” Then listen to her podcasts. After listening to the podcasts, students might write an essay, create a podcast or make a video of themselves as they answer the question.

Resource Graphic 

The wide range of coverage of the invasion, daily life and attempts to survive that are printed in The Washington Post and online are possible because of the reporters, photographers and photojournalist who are in Ukraine working in concert with Post staff in D.C. Russian bombardment of Ukraine’s second-largest city intensifies as talks fail to yield breakthrough.

• “Russian bombardment of Ukraine’s second-largest city intensifies as talks fail to yield breakthrough.”

• “‘My son’s life depends on this’: A desperate search for insulin in Kyiv as medicines disappear.”

• “More than 2 million people have left Ukraine, foreshadowing a massive humanitarian crisis.”


On the Frontlines
Broadcast journalism, journalism, U.S. Government

To begin this activity teachers might talk about the First Amendment and its guarantees. This might be contrasted with Putin’s threats to the independent press in Russia. What does it mean to have eyewitnesses inside Ukraine?


Introduce students to some of the Post staff in Ukraine. View “Video of Post reporters and photojournalists share the images that stay with them.”

A photo gallery takes readers through the first days of invasion. Take time to view the contrast between daily life and destruction, how quickly life changed for the Ukrainian people. View and discuss Photojournalists Cover Ukraine. The following pieces may be read at the same chronological point or after viewing the photographs.



In Ukraine days before the Russian invasion, The Post’s reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan, photographer Michael Robinson Chavez and videographer Whitney Shefte began coverage. “In Ukraine’s trenches: Soviet relics, video games and hope for more Western weapons.”



In Kyiv, Post Video journalist Whitney Shefte returned to her hotel’s bunker, along with other journalists and hotel guests, for the fourth or fifth time that day.

And farther west, The Post’s David Stern reported from a traffic jam in the Carpathian Mountains, where many were trying to travel farther from the fighting. “Cars are backed up for, well, miles,” he said



View the video from within shelter: Post reporter takes shelter in Kyiv hotel basement amid Russian strikes.



In “Letter From Ukraine: On the road from Kharkiv, checkpoints and a resolve to fight Russians” readers feel that they are riding along as Post reporters drive to a safer location.



Phone interviews reveal “Post Behind the Story: “How three Washington Post journalists are covering Ukraine on the ground” In addition, discussion and close reading questions are provided in Post Journalists Cover Ukraine.


Love and Keep the Animals Safe

Character Education, Social Studies, World History

In many of the photographs and videos of Ukrainians finding shelter underground and fleeing their bombed homes, you will see cats and dogs. They will not leave their animals to be frightened by loud sounds or abandon them to fend for themselves.


Another story of survival and compassion is witnessed at Kyiv’s zoo. Look at the photographs of zookeepers and animals. Read and discuss “The war within Kyiv’s zoo: Blast-stressed elephant and an abandoned lemur.”



Read About Ukraine

Read Editorial Cartoons

Art, Journalism, Visual Literacy

Editorial cartoons appear daily in The Washington Post. Four that comment on the Russian invasion and President Putin are reprinted with three discussion questions each.


Teachers may form four groups, one per cartoon. In addition to responding to the questions, students may read an article that gives additional insight. They will then discuss the group’s cartoon with the class.

• Tiptoe the Line & “Why are Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s Donbas region a flash point

for Putin?

• Putin’s Power Play & “Knocking his teams off the stage exposes Putin to his own


• War and Pea Shooters & “What are economic sanctions, and how did they become Washington’s

foreign policy tool of choice?”

• Ann Telnaes mirrors “Putin’s historical hypocrisy” & “Putin says he will ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Here’s the history behind that claim.”


Read Editorials

Character Education, Civics, Debate, Journalism, World History

The editorial board stated its point of view in a number of editorials as events unfolded. Wide margins are provided for students to annotate as they read. What points are made in the editorials? Are concessions given? Would students debate any of the points made in the editorials?

• “Why Ukraine — and Russia’s aggression against it — matters”

• “From the streets of Russia, protests rise to the war without a cause

For what other events in Ukraine and topics did The Post editors voice their opinion after these two early ones?


Give Praise
Character Education, Civics, Debate, Journalism, World History

Opinion pieces may praise as well as take issue or offer solutions. Columnist Jennifer Rubin takes a look at the week invasion began and finds “Distinguished persons of the week: Breathtaking bravery in the face of war.”


Read and discuss how she structures the essay to relate the people she finds honorable.

Students might be asked to write about someone to be praised. After reading their essays, there should be no doubt why they respect this person(s).


Consider Words That Explain and Inspire

English, Journalism, U.S. History, World History

In the activity, Words to Explain and to Inspire, students are asked to reflect on lines from speeches that are still remembered. What qualities do they share?


The second part of the activity asks when does the public need a clear, straightforward explanation and when does it need words to inspire? Quotations are given to identify purpose and impact.


Understand Sanctions and SWIFT

Business, Economics, U.S. Government, World History

Those who listened to or read the news heard “sanctions” and “SWIFT” mentioned often, especially in relation to giving repercussions for President Putin’s actions. These terms are explained in

• “What are economic sanctions, and how did they become Washington’s

foreign policy tool of choice?”

•  “What is SWIFT, and why does it matter in the Russia-Ukraine war?


To what extent does economic pressure impact a leader’s actions? Influence a country’s view of its leaders? Hurt the public?


Use Social Media

English, Social Studies, Technology, U.S. History

Residents, journalists and international students who are studying in Ukraine are using social media. Give students Social Media, Satellites & Survival to begin discussion of this topic. The entire class could read and discuss the suggested articles or they could be placed in groups to become experts in each of the three topics.


For insight into the use of social media by the press in the time of conflicts and war, read The Post book review, “In war, the battle today is less on the ground than on social media.” Matt Friedman reviews War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos, author and journalist.



Fight For a Free Press

Journalism, Media Studies, U.S. Government

Why is a free and independent press needed? Especially during war-time? Teachers may discuss propaganda, disinformation and misinformation. Before asking students to explore these resources:

• “Fighting for A Free Press in Ukraine — and Beyond: As Ukrainians defend their country against the Russian invasion, journalists there and in other post-Soviet states guard their fragile press freedoms”

• Listen to NPR’s On Point podcast, “Russians reflect on the Russia-Ukraine war and its consequences at home” from March 4, 2022. Background is given of the current closures and threats to the independent press.  Nina Khrushcheva and Andrei Soldatov join Meghna Chakrabarti.

• Follow news from around the globe with Reporters Without Borders.

• Get news from Ukraine online from Ukrainian journalists at The Kviv Independent.



Do a Forensics Dive for Verification

Journalism, Media Art, Technology

The Post published a video of a fire raging outside a Ukrainian apartment building only after a “‘visual forensics’ team spent hours analyzing it and cross-referencing it with maps and other social media posts — eventually pinpointing the exact street corner in Kyiv where the inferno took place.” Read and discuss “Pixel-level forensics used to vet Ukrainian videos” published on March 3, 2022, to learn how and why such effort is completed to verify authenticity before publication.

Students could be asked to give the steps taken in the process, beginning with geolocation.


For additional information on how and why visual forensics is used, read these Poynter articles:

• How to spot video and photo fakes as Russia invades Ukraine


• “Global fact-checkers unite to battle disinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”


• “Watch out for these 6 hoaxes about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”


Seek Experts of Nuclear Power Plan
Chemistry, International Law, Physics, World History

Ukraine is home to the captured Chernobyl nuclear site and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest. Ukraine has “four active nuclear power plants” and still monitors radiation at Chernobyl.” Learn what the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other world experts have to say about their deep concern and potential endangerment of people and land beyond Ukraine’s borders. Read and discuss “The Ukraine power plant fire was contained. But nuclear experts fear what’s to come in Russia’s war.”


Are These War Crimes?

Geography, International Law, Psychology, U.S. History, World History

After Kharkiv was hit by Russian artillery assault, Ukrainian President Zelensky described the deaths and destruction as a “war crime.” Other Western officials have agreed. Zelensky also called the launching of a projective that caused a fire at a nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, a “war crime.” Claire Parker writes: “People often use ‘war crimes’ colloquially to describe a range of actions prohibited under international law during conflict, said William Schabas, a professor of international law at Middlesex University in London. But the term has a precise, technical definition, referring to violations of international law governing conduct in combat and during occupation.


“Those violations are spelled out in international treaties such as the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court in 2002 to prosecute individuals responsible for war crimes, along with crimes against humanity and genocide — themselves complex terms with their own set of legal parameters.”


To learn more about defining “war crimes” and gathering evidence, read:

• “What are war crimes — and could Russia be committing them in Ukraine?” by Claire Parker. March 3, 2022

• “Amid the death and rubble, Ukrainian teams hunt for evidence of possible war crimes” by Sudarsan Raghavan. March 6, 2022



Keep Updated

Civics, Journalism, U.S. History, World History

For continued daily coverage read the pages of The Post and visit the online War in Ukraine: In videos and photos, a timeline of Russia’s war on Ukraine.




Post NIE Guide Editor | Carol Lange

Post NIE Guide Art Editor | Donna McCullough

Resource Graphic 
In The Know 

Breakaway republics                        

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and annexed the Crimean Peninsula, separatists proclaimed “people’s republics” — often referred to as “breakaway republics” — in the east. Fighting in the area has claimed 14,000 lives since 2014.


Defensive weapons  

Officials often use it to describe a category of weapons — including antitank missiles and antiaircraft missile systems — meant to defend against an attack. They have limited range and destructive capacity. Washington rushed anti-armor missiles and other weapons to Ukraine in January and February. Britain, Poland and other European countries have also used the term to describe their own weapons shipments to Ukraine.


Diplomats are careful to use the term in the face of accusations that supplying weapons to Ukraine could threaten Russia. Germany has declined a request from Ukraine for “defensive weapons” such as anti-drone rifles and portable surface-to-air missiles, citing its long-standing policy against sending arms to conflict zones.



Countries and analysts are debating whether the Kremlin’s recognition of separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine — and deployment of troops there this week — count as the Russian invasion the West has warned about for months.


“There’s no such thing as a minor, middle or major invasion. Invasion is an invasion,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said at a news conference in Washington on [Feb. 22].


The White House initially wrestled with whether Putin’s actions constituted an invasion. But in a speech [Feb. 22] Biden was explicit: Russia’s moves on eastern breakaway regions marked “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “further invasion,” in reference to Russia’s previous annexation of Crimea in 2014 and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.


“What we see now is that a country that is already invaded is suffering further invasion,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said [Feb. 22].


Line of control                                 

Refers to the roughly 260-mile divide in eastern Ukraine separating areas held by Russian-backed separatists from territory controlled by Kyiv government forces. The separatists claim all of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region as their territory, but they control about one-third of the region along the border with Russia. Moscow has recognized the separatists’ territorial claims beyond the current line of control.


Lethal aid

Military aid designed to kill people, while “nonlethal aid” can refer to basically anything else, including communications equipment and medical supplies. Make no mistake: When officials say “lethal aid,” they mean deadly weapons.


The distinction can be vague, but it’s legally significant — the State Department can authorize the distribution of nonlethal aid, while lethal aid requires a presidential directive and a briefing to congressional leaders.



The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Ukraine’s ability to join it, lies at the center of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. NATO was formed in 1949 and designed as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. The military alliance, which initially had just 12 members, has since grown to 30 countries.


The government of Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, hopes the country can one day join the alliance. NATO countries have signaled that is unlikely to happen soon but have insisted on keeping the “open-door” policy. Russia sees NATO’s expansion as a threat and has demanded that Ukraine be prevented from ever joining the alliance.



Sanctions — Targeted

“Targeted sanctions” are meant to minimize the suffering of civilians. They can include travel bans, asset freezes, arms embargoes and trade restrictions.


The Biden administration on [Feb. 22]. imposed its first tranche of sanctions targeting Russia for its actions against Ukraine. It included the freezing of assets of two state-owned banks. European leaders have also pursued targeted sanctions against Russia. 



Shooting of a projectile — or shell — which contains an explosive, incendiary or chemical filling, usually fired by artillery. The Ukrainian military has also reported separatists firing mortar and grenade launchers along the front.


SOURCE: “What counts as an ‘invasion’ or as ‘lethal aid’? Here’s what some terms from the Russia-Ukraine crisis really mean.”


ANSWERS, 7 Maps, 7 Eras in Ukraine’s Shifting Borders


8th Century to 13th Century

1. The Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire existed from 330 to 1453. Byzantium was a Christian state with Greek as its official language and Constantinople as its capital. This longest-lasting medieval power stretched at times into Italy, Greece, the Balkans, Levant, Asia Minor and North Africa. Its influence is still seen in religion, art, architecture and law.

2. Greek city-states began establishing colonies along the Black Sea coast of Crimea in the 8th to 6th century BC. These colonies traded with various ancient nations around the Black Sea, including Scythians, Maeotae, Cimmerians, Goths and predecessors of the Slavs.

3. In 988, Vladimir, a prince of the Kievan Rus, was baptized by a Byzantine priest. His conversion marked the beginning of Orthodox Christianity among the Rus and remains a moment of great nationalist symbolism for Russians. Putin invoked this older Vladimir in a speech in December 2014 when justifying his annexation of Crimea.

4. Known for warfare, but celebrated for productive peace by uniting disparate people. Led by humble steppe dwellers of Mongolia, but successful due to a mastery of the era’s most advanced technology. The Mongol Empire was the second-largest kingdom of all time. At its peak, the Mongol Empire covered the most contiguous territory in history. Led at first by Genghis Khan, the empire lasted from 1206 until 1368. Researchers believe they were drawn to the fertile land with abundant grasses for their horses and better conditions for livestock breeding.

5. Kiev was established in the 9th century by the Rus, Scandinavian traders and settlers. Moscow was settled later in 1147; rose in influence beginning in 13th century with Mongol Golden Horde invasions.


1650 to 1812

1. The Ottoman Empire, spanning more than 600 years, was created by Turkish tribes and grew to be one of the most powerful states in the world reaching its peak of power between 1481-1566. At its height the empire encompassed most of southeastern Europe and the Middle East including present-day Hungary, Greece, the Balkans and parts of Ukraine

2. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was at first a dynastic (till 1569) and then a federal multiethnic and multireligious union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, lasting from 1386 to 1795. At its height, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, it became one of the largest (territorially), most populous, and politically most powerful of early modern European states, exhibiting , democratic, and religiously tolerant tendencies. in 1410, turned back the Baltic ambitions of Russia’s Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) in the Livonian Wars (1558–1582), and took a leading role capping the march of the Ottoman Empire with the famous victory at Vienna in 1683. Culturally, the Commonwealth became a border region and a bridge between the Latin civilization of central and western Europe (Poland-Lithuania boasted the second oldest central European university, in Kraków, and was the birthplace of Nicolas Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy) and the Orthodox and even Islamist leanings of the eastern and southern European periphery, creating fascinating mixes of Byzantine and baroque influences in artistic and folk expressions 


The Truce of Andrusova in 1667 brought an end to over 13 years of war between Tsarist Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth who clashed over the territories between them — territories in modern Ukraine and Belarus. The West of Ukraine was handed to Poland, while Russia was given Kyiv. Russia agreed to rule Kyiv for only two years, but in 1686 the deal became permanent when Russia paid the Poles 146,000 roubles.

The truce continues to resonate in geopolitics. Ukrainians see it as the devouring of their state by their two larger neighbors. Russian nationalists regard it as a blueprint and justification for future expansion, as evidenced by the annexation of Crimea. 

3. Catherine the Great dreamed of ending the Ottoman Empire and extending her rule to Constantinople and Jerusalem

4. Interference in trade routes and religious tensions sparked the Crimean War (1853-1856) during which the Ottoman Empire lost Crimea. The Ottoman Empire and Russia fought against Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia. 

5. Lviv was a center of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe. In the late 18th century it was under rule of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Ukrainian nationalism took hold in mid-19th century, rooted in the traditions and dialects of the region’s peasants and the aspirations of intellectuals who had fled the rule of Russia.


1914 to 1918

1. Bolsheviks were Russian socialists led by Lenin in the early 20th century. In London in exile, he and other Marxists established the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party. Their goals were to create a workers state with all the power going to the “soviets” as the ruling political party. They promised peace, bread and land. 

2. The Great War had Axis Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire) fighting against the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States).

3. Under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed in March 1918  ceded some of Russia’s domains to the Central powers and recognized the independence of others, including Ukraine.

4. WWI ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11the month of 1918 when Germany surrendered. If formally ended with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. The treaty the Bolsheviks had signed was nullified. Ukrainian land reverted to Russia. However, independence was tasted and movements in cities like Lviv, Kiev and Kharkiv sought the return to independence.

5. Russia had most control of this eastern area.


1919 to 1930s

1. The U.S.S.R. was created after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that ended centuries of czarist (Romanov) rule. The Red Terror, a bloody civil war followed until the 1922 treaty between Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia (modern Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Communist Party was established led by Vladimir Lenin who took control of the government.

     a. It grew to 15 republics. Other Soviet Socialist Republics created were Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

     b. Moldova

     c. The U.S.S.R. was formed in 1922. Its first leader was Lenin. Upon his death Georgian-born Joseph Stalin rose to power (1924-1953).

2. Before 1922, Ukraine was claimed by Poland and U.S.S.R.

3. In the Russian Civil War, Bolshevik forces fought against armies led by loyalists to the old czarist regime and new political opportunists. The Bolsheviks won and officially declared the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic in 1922.

4. Under Stalin’s policy of collectivization a vast segment of Ukraine’s rural population was displaced and dispossessed. In 1932-33 a man-made famine led to the death of some three million people.

5. Into the depleted villages and cities, Russian-speaking people were encouraged to settle. This demographic shift is seen in today’s divisive politics.


1945 to 1954

1. It would be the breadbasket for the empire he would build.

2. He justified part of his invasion by saying Russian troops would “denazify” western Ukraine.

3. It was mainly the eastern side of Ukraine that had been annexed or “given” to Russia in agreements.

4. In an attempt to reconcile the relationship with the Ukrainian SSR, Nikita Khrushchev, along with the other leadership of the Soviet Union, transferred the Crimean peninsula from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

5. .a. The original members to the Warsaw Pact were the Soviet Union, Albania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and the German Democratic Republic.

b. Provisions: The Soviet Union formed this alliance as a counterbalance to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Although the members of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if one or more of them came under attack, emphasized non-interference in the internal affairs of its members, and supposedly organized itself around collective decision-making.

   Cold War — The Warsaw Pact was dominated by the USSR. This allowed the Soviets to force their foreign policy on the rest of the Eastern Bloc. It put the Soviets in command of the armed forces of the member states. From 1955, Europe was divided into two armed camps. It was called the Cold War because neither the Soviet Union nor the United States officially declared war on each other.


After the fall of the U.S.S.R

1Europe was divided into a two regions: a US-led Western Bloc and a Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Since Russia had been part of the allied forces defeating Germany, they took leadership and control over states such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. In Western Europe was the American, British and French sphere of influence. This influence included security and aid during the recovery.

2. In September 1990, East Germany left the Pact in preparation for reunification with West Germany. By October, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland had withdrawn from all Warsaw Pact military exercises. The Warsaw Pact officially disbanded in March and July of 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

3. Several possible factors led to the break up of the U.S.S.R: Failing post-World War II economy, weakened military, public dissatisfaction with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's loosened economic and political policies of perestroika and glasnost. Rather than sparking a renaissance in Communist thought, glasnost opened the floodgates to criticism of the entire USSR. 

4. Ukraine became an independent country in 1991.

5 a. Byzantine Empire, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Ukraine, U.S.S.R.; b. Romania is directly to its west. And the Ukraine to its east. The two languages reflect the geographic, political and cultural influences.


Present Day | 2015

1.  a. In the Crimean War, Russia fought France, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom and Piedmont-Sardinia. The immediate cause of the war involved the rights of Christian minorities in Palestine, which was part of the Ottoman Empire.           

b. “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” poem written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1855, retells the British cavalry charge against heavily defended Russian troops at the Battle of Balaklava (1854) during the Crimean War (1853-56). It was a loss by the British because of a supposed miscommunication of instructions and has remained an important lesson in military history/strategy/tactics.

c. Florence Nightingale made several contributions to the health industry. She organized a corps of nurses to tend to the sick and fallen soldiers in the Crimea. Her work reduced the hospital’s death rate by two-thirds. Her work and book impacted a total restructuring of the War Office’s administrative department, including the establishment of a Royal Commission for the Health of the Army in 1857, inspiring new standards for sanitation in the army and beyond.

d. The Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30, 1856, at the Congress of Paris, made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all warships and prohibiting fortifications and the presence of armaments on its shores. The treaty diminished Russian influence in the region.

e. In 1870 Russia repudiated the demilitarization of the Black Sea and began to rebuild its naval fleet there.

2. Due to its strategic location and the navigability of the city's harbors, Sevastopol has been an important port and naval base throughout its history. Since the city's founding in 1783 it has been a major base for Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and it was previously a closed city during the Cold War. The siege was the culminating struggle for the strategic Russian port in 1854–55 and was the final episode in the Crimean War.

3. This is the area that has been under Russian influence.

4.  Volodymyr Zelenskyy was inaugurated as the sixth and current president of Ukraine on 20 May 2019. Before him, Petro Poroshenko was president for June 2014 to May 2019.

     a. Poroshenko replaced Viktor Yanukovich, a pro-Russian president. Although Poroshenko was pro-West, his military-bent antagonized the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

     b. Zelenskyy is a pro-West leader who has worked to rid Ukraine of corruption to gain NATO membership.

5. Answers will vary. Control of Ukrainian lands is still an issue for Russian President Putin. Based upon the resistance, most Ukrainians want independence. Some in eastern Ukraine believe Putin and remain pro-Russian.


The name "Ukraine" literally translates as “on the edge.” It is a country on the edge of other countries, sometimes part of one, sometimes part of another and more frequently divided. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was divided between Russia, Poland and the Ottoman Empire.