Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday began a military operation in Ukraine after weeks of warnings by Western powers that such an attack was imminent. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was also precipitated by years of rising tensions. Below are six maps that help illustrate the events that led to this moment. Map of Russia And Ukraine Explain The Conflict Between These Countries.
Russia, the world’s largest country by area, stretches from Northern Asia to Eastern Europe. The Arctic Ocean borders Russia to the north and the Pacific to the east. The country also has a short coastline on the Baltic Sea in the northwest. The exclave of Russia, Kaliningrad also borders the Baltic Sea as well as Lithuania and Poland. The southern borders of Russia are Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, North Korea, and Mongolia. The western and southwestern borders of Russia are with Finland, Norway, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Latvia.
Russia has 46 provinces (oblasti, singular – oblast), 21 republics (respubliki, singular – respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnyye okrugi, singular – avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (kraya, singular – kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular – gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast’).
Ukraine is located between Europe and Asia in eastern Europe, north of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Ukraine’s fertile land was known as the breadbasket of the Soviet Union; now, it has become the breadbasket of Europe. With an area of 600,000 km², it is the second-largest country in Europe after European Russia, twice the size of Italy or slightly smaller than the US state of Texas. Ukraine borders Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia.
Ukraine has a population of 41.3 million people (in 2021); the capital and largest city are Kiev (Kyiv) with a population of 2.9 million; the city is a major industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural center in Eastern Europe. Spoken languages are Ukrainian (official), Russian is widely spoken, especially in eastern and southern parts of the country.