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Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative, executive and judicial branches. Taking into account reserves and paramilitary personnel, 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians "by ethnicity", followed by a sizeable minority of Russians (17.3 percent) as well as Georgians, Romanians/Moldovans, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians and Hungarians.
Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic.
During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity.
Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia.
The first of these periods occurred briefly during and immediately after the German occupation near the end of World War I and the second occurred, also briefly, and also during German occupation, during World War II.
However, both of these first two earlier periods would eventually see Ukraine's territories consolidated back into a Soviet republic within the USSR.
A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and later merged fully into Russia.
During the 20th century three periods of independence occurred.
According to the Primary Chronicle the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia.Danylo Romanovych (Daniel I of Galicia or Danylo Halytskyi) son of Roman Mstyslavych, re-united all of south-western Rus', including Volhynia, Galicia and Rus' ancient capital of Kiev.Danylo was crowned by the papal archbishop in Dorohychyn 1253 as the first King of all Rus'.In 2013, after the government of President Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan began, which later escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to the overthrow of President Yanukovych and his cabinet and the establishment of a new government.These events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, and the War in Donbass in April 2014.