The time in Kiev is 7 hours later than US Eastern Standard, 2 hours later than Greenwich Mean. Ukraine covers one time zone. Daylight Saving Time is in effect from the first Sunday of April until the last Sunday of October.
Ukraine is member to numerous world and regional international bodies, including United Nations (UN), OSCE, the Council of Europe, EU Energy Community, the GUAM and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The country is currently taking steps to accede to EU and NATO, and has special partnership with both organisations.
Ukraine obtained a market economy status from both the USA and the EU and has also joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ukraine plans to enter into a free trade agreement with the EU in 2012-2014. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has continued to flow in, although in a relatively low volume.
In 1992 Ukraine became a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). It also became affiliated with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Ukraine has anti-money laundering controls approved by the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
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The traditional Ukrainian symbols — trident and blue-and-yellow flag (proportions 3 by 2) — were officially adopted during Ukrainian independence in 1917–1920 and again after the Declaration of independence in 1991. The trident dates back to the Kievan Rus' as a pre-heraldic symbol of Volodymyr the Great. The national flag of Ukraine colors are commonly believed to represent blue skies above yellow wheat fields.
The Composition of the National Anthem of Ukraine dates back to the year of 1862, when young folklorist and ethnographer Pavlo Platonovich Chyubynsky wrote the poem “Ukraine is still alive”. The popular poem was noticed by religious leaders of those times. One of them, Father Mykhailo (Verbytsky), known to be a talented composer, wrote music to the poem (1865).
Ukraine is a unitary republic, not a federal state. The country is divided administratively into 24 provinces called "oblasti"; two cities — Kiev and Sevastopol — carry the same status as an oblast. The Crimea is an autonomous republic within Ukraine. There are 447 towns and 28,800 villages in Ukraine.
The largest cities in Ukraine (all have a population of over one million) are:
Kiev (in Ukrainian - "Kyiv"), the biggest city in Ukraine, capital of Ukraine and economic, cultural, and educational center, has a population of 2.6 mln;
Kharkov (in Ukrainian -"Kharkiv"), noted for its engineering expertise, machinery plants, and educational institutions;
Dnepropetrovsk (in Ukrainian - "Dnipropetrivsk"), a center of metallurgical and aerospace industries;
Donetsk, known for mining and metallurgy;
Odessa (in Ukrainian - "Odesa"), on the Black Sea coast, is the country's largest seaport.
Ukraine has a presidential-parliamentary system of government with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches.
President is due to prevent any actions of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power that directly or indirectly infringe the Constitution of Ukraine. With the aim of fulfilling this duty the President is vested with corresponding authorities. He is empowered to suspend decisions of government bodies and veto laws passed by the Verkhovna Rada (the Supreme Council of Ukraine).
The government, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which consists of the Prime Minister of Ukraine, First Vice Prime Minister, Vice Prime Ministers and various departmental Ministers, exercises executive power in Ukraine. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President with the consent of more than one-half of the parliament.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine provides for carrying out financial, price, investment and taxation policies, as well as actions in the spheres of labor and employment of population, social protection, education, science and culture, environment protection, ecological security and nature management.
The Cabinet of Ministers works out the draft of the Law on the State Budget of Ukraine for approval by the Verkhovna Rada, and ensures its execution.
The Supreme Council (Verkhovna Rada) initiates legislation, ratifies international agreements, and approves the budget. The unicameral legislature consists of the 450-seat Supreme Council, whose members (People's Deputies of Ukraine) are elected to serve five-year terms. All parties that win at least 3% of the national vote in the parliamentary election are awarded seats on a proportional basis.
The judicial branch is very complex and has several independent court systems such as constitutional, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and general, the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is separate and independent from courts of general jurisdiction. It cannot be a court of Appeal, Cassation and Observation. The activity of the Constitutional Court provides constitutional control in all the spheres.
The Supreme Court is the highest judiciary body. Courts are the only bodies to provide justice in Ukraine. The system of courts is based on the territorial and specification principles.
1. The geographical centre of Europe is situated in the territory of Ukraine, not far from the city of Rakhov in Zakarpattia region.
2. The grave of the founding rabbi of Hassidism, situated near Uman', is a pilgrimage site for Hasidic Jews.
3. The first state constitution in Europe was created by a Ukrainian politician Pylyp Orlyk. On April 5th, 1710 he was elected the Hetman of Zaporozhye troops. On the same day Pylyp Orlyk has announced "the Constitution of the rights and freedoms of Zaporizhye army". For example, U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787 and French and Polish in 1791.
5. AN-225 “Mria” (from Ukrainian – “a dream”) is today the biggest and the heaviest aircraft with the highest cargo capacity in the World. This unique cargo plane was constructed in the 1980′s by the Antonov’s Development Laboratory (Kiev, Ukraine). Its length is 84 m, height – 18 m, total cargo capacity – 250 tons.
6. Ukraine contains around 5% of the worlds mineral resources.
7. More than 12 million foreign tourists visit Ukraine each year, to see the Carpathian Mountains, the coastline of the Black Sea, the Dnieper River, vineyards, ruins of ancient cities and castles; ancient churches, cathedrals, and monasteries; world-class opera and ballet, and more.
8. Ukraine has the World’s 5th largest and fastest growing IT outsourcing services market in the World, with revenues in 2011 expected to reach $1 billion.
9. Famous people that are Ukrainian or of Ukrainian extraction are Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko, Andrey Shevchenko, Vasyl Virastyuk, Sergey Korolev, Vladimir Vernadsky, Ilya Mechnikov, Simon Kuznets, Nikolay Amosov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ilya Repin, Kazimir Malevich, Sergei Prokofiev, Ruslana and many others.
10. The horse was first domesticated on the territory of Ukraine.
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