Ukraine Map Supplement

Ukraine Map Supplement

The June 2023 issue of National Geographic magazine includes a two-sided poster map of Ukraine. The front side shows the country after a year of war, including graphics about Ukraine’s crucial role as a global breadbasket. The back side features a thematic map of Europe, which covers the continent’s efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas, the growth of NATO, and the former extent of the Soviet Union and its Cold War allies. An illustrated time line traces the history of Ukraine back to the medieval Kyivan Rus state, from which Russia and Belarus also evolved.


5 - 12+


Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, World History

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Linking the European Plain to the Eurasian steppe’s vast grassy belt, modern Ukraine’s territory has offered a gateway between East and West, land and sea, ancient and present-day. Herodotus described fierce Scythian horsemen who wielded both battle-axes and plows near the fertile Dnipro River. “No better crops grow anywhere than along its banks,” the historian and geographer wrote in the fifth century B.C.E. (Ukraine remains a major agricultural producer today.) Since the Middle Ages, various empires collided at these rich borderlands and carved them up (see the timeline on the Europe map). In the 1800s, the colonized inhabitants began forging a Ukrainian national identity based on language and shared ancestors: the mighty Kyivan Rus state and the indomitable Cossack riders, heirs to the Scythians’ steppe. Now, three decades after independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine is again a battleground. This map shows the country after one year of war, including the occupied territory it demands back.

General map policy note: National Geographic’s maps incorporate our policy of depicting de facto geographic situations to the best of our judgment. By de facto we mean states of affairs existing in fact or in reality, although perhaps not official, legal, or accepted. This policy aligns with our chartered purpose since 1888 as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. International boundaries and territorial control as shown on our maps reflect de facto status at the time of publication.

Map policy note about Crimea: Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and, after a disputed and boycotted referendum held in Crimea approved secession from Ukraine, the Russian parliament voted to annex Crimea into the Russian Federation. The United Nations General Assembly subsequently adopted a nonbinding resolution declaring the annexation invalid and affirming Ukraine’s territorial jurisdiction. Russia administers and controls the peninsula while Ukraine continues to maintain that Crimea is its sovereign territory.

Learn more about National Geographic’s map policy here.

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Last Updated

January 22, 2024

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