5 intriguing statistics about Ukraine

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hands holding cutout of the shape of Ukraine, the cutout has blue and yellow, colors of Ukrainian flag

The world’s attention has turned to Ukraine as Russian forces attempt to overtake the country. So, what do we know about this land and its people? Let’s look at enriching statistics about Ukraine.

Highlights:

  • Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe. Also, it’s the 45th largest country globally.
  • An instrument of Ukrainian origin made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest musical wind instrument
  • In the 2021/2022 crop year, Ukraine generated approximately 17.5 million metric tons of sunflower seeds.
  • Ukraine built the largest and heaviest aircraft in history.

Statistic #1: Ukraine is roughly nine-tenths the size of Texas

Ukraine is an Eastern European country near the Black Sea. With a total area of 233,032 square miles (or 603,550 square kilometers), Ukraine is approximately 87% of the size of Texas. Ukraine is also the second-largest country in Europe (Russia is the first) and the 45th largest country globally.

Ukraine borders seven countries: Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia.

Statistic #2: The world’s longest musical wind instrument comes from Ukraine

Ukraine has produced more than 80 original instruments, like the bandura and the sopilka. However, one of its instruments made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest musical wind instrument: the trembita.

What is a trembita? It’s a long, wooden instrument that a musician blows into from the mouthpiece. It’s carved out of a tree that’s 100 to 150 years old, preferably fir. Its weight is approximately 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms). The length of the trembita typically ranges from three feet (1 meter) to 10 feet (three meters) therefore making it the longest musical wind instrument. Furthermore, one can hear the trembita up to six miles away (10 kilometers).

the trembita, the longest musical wind instrument in the world
The trembita, the longest musical wind instrument in the world

Statistic #3: The Orlyk Constitution is the second oldest constitution in the world

Representatives ratified the United States constitution in 1788. Yet, almost 80 years earlier (in 1710), nobleman Pylyp Orlyk penned a document that envisioned an autonomous land in the area that is now Ukraine. This constitution would empower the citizens and introduce the separation of powers many years before the American or French ones.

The 1710 constitution contained four parts:

  • The preamble
  • 16 articles making up the text of the constitution
  • Orlyk’s oath
  • A confirmation charter by King Charles XII

Furthermore, Orlyk wrote the constitution in two languages: Middle Ukrainian and Latin.

However, because this constitution was never fully enacted, many do not recognize this manuscript as a constitution.

The first (generally accepted) constitution comes from San Marino, dating around 1600.

Statistic #4: Ukraine is the number one producer of sunflower seeds worldwide

In the 2021/2022 crop year, Ukraine generated approximately 17.5 million metric tons (19.3 U.S. tons) of sunflower seeds. This yield makes Ukraine the top producer of sunflower seeds in the world. Ukraine was also the highest sunflower seed oil exporting country, with about 5.27 million metric tons (5.8 U.S. tons) of exported oil.

Ukraine’s ability to grow so many seeds is due to over 50% of the country’s soil being chernozem or “black earth.”  Chernozem is nutrient-rich soil that is ideal for agriculture. In fact, one-quarter of the world’s chernozem is in Ukraine.

Statistic #5: Ukraine built the largest and heaviest aircraft in history

In 1988, the world’s largest plane took flight from the western edge of Kyiv, Ukraine. The aircraft was an AN-225 named “Mriya,” meaning “Dream.” However, it was the only completed plane of its kind. The Antonov Company, a Ukrainian business, made its design.

The AN-225 also had the longest wingspan of any plan and was the heaviest. The features of the Mriya were:

  • Length: 276 feet (84 meters)
  • Height: 60 feet (18.2 meters)
  • Wingspan: 290 feet (88.4 meters)
  • Maximum weight (with cargo): 1,410,958 pounds (640,000 kilograms)
  • Powered by six turbofan engines
  • The landing gear had 32 wheels

Initially created to transport a Soviet space shuttle, Mriya saw a new purpose after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and its space program with it. In times of crisis, Ukraine used the AN-225 to deliver aid. For example, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, it carried relief supplies to the Dominican Republic, Haiti’s neighboring country. Mriya also transported medical supplies to needed areas during the COVID pandemic. In all, it had over 30 years of service.

The Russian army destroyed Mriya during its attack on Ukraine in 2022.

Mriya, an AN-225 plane and the largest aircraft in history, one of many statistics about Ukraine
Mriya, an AN-225 plane and the largest aircraft in history

An important note

While these facts are fascinating, statistics don’t define a country. People do. And the people of Ukraine have given a powerful witness to the character of Ukraine.

More information on the crisis in Ukraine is available in our database.

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