Case Study - Ukraine

  • Created by: SammyW
  • Created on: 22-02-17 15:17

Background Information

  • Large European country which stretches from the Carpathians (mountains) in the west to the Donets Basin in the East. The southern boundary is the Black Sea and Sea of Azov coastline including the Crimean Peninsula.
  • The area of modern-day Ukraine has been politically contested throughout its history.
  • Ukraine is classified by the World Bank as a lower-middle-income economy. Even though it is a major producer of food, especially grain on its extensive fertile plains, and it produces heavy manufacturing products based on large coal, iron ore and other mineral deposits, GDP per capita has been falling in recent years. 
  • Its population was 44.5 million in 2015, and it is in decline as a result of net migration loss and natural decrease. 
1 of 7

Causes of Conflict

  • Geographical position: between Russia and countries of the EU.
  • Internal political division: Russian-speaking provinces in the east and Ukrainian-speaking west. 
  • Ethnic disparities: the two main ethnic groups are Ukrainian (77.8%) and Russian (17.3%). 
  • Inability to build a common national identity and develop strong state mechanisms: there has been endemic (widespread) corruption, attempts to rig an election, unpopular government policies, and demonstrations, some of which have been extremely violent. 
2 of 7

Challenges to the Government

  • Recent political events have challenged both the state sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. These include the serious civil unrest in 2013. This resulted from the Yanukovych's government's failure to sign the EU Association Agreement on trade and cooperation with the EU in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.
  • Also, the invasion and annexation of Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, in 2014 by the Russian Federation followed shortly after the election of the pro-West Poroshenko government. 
  • There has been military conflict in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been supported by the Russian Federation providing manpower, weaponry and finance. 
3 of 7

Assistance from Organisations

  • There has been assistance from NATO and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), but the Ukraine government needs to reform the state apparatus. This includes development of an electoral system which is fair, transparent and reliable.
  • The judicial system needs to be more capable of dealing with criminal activity such as smuggling and corruption.
  • This requires more effective support from repressive systems, including civilian police and armed forces. Health, education and welfare systems need to be improved. 
  • Currently there are human rights issues to be resolved, especially concerning IDPs as a result of the military conflict. 
  • Ukraine needs to become more energy independent, reducing energy dependence on Russia. 
  • Greater treasury involvement is required to improve the deteriorating business and investment climate and restore international confidence in trade. 
4 of 7

Impacts on People

  • Approximately 1.47 million of the 5.2 million inhabitants of the Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts are IDPs, having fled their homes since April 2014; a further 600,000 moved to neighbouring countries, mostly to Russia, as residential areas came under fire.
  • Evacuees have moved to dormitories in summer camps, disused huts in pinewoods and villages, and a sanitorium at Svetagorsk. Their lack of income, poor quality of shelter and poor access to healthcare, medicines, and food have added to the vulnerability of the many old, young and disabled.
  • There have been 7,000 deaths and 13,900 injuries, including the 298 people shot down in a civilian aircraft. 
  • The town of Debaltseve has been bombed, causing damage to housing, services, places of work, communications and livelihoods. Located on the highway linking other rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Lugansk, it is a strategically important rail link for goods from Russia. Those who stay, sheltering in basements, have no power or heating.
5 of 7

Impacts on Places (In Ukraine)

  • Donestk airport has been the scene of heavy fighting. Rockets were fired on the Ukraine military HQ at Kromatorsk.
  • Donbass industrial and residential areas have suffered loss of power, water supply and gas. 
  • Industrial plants have been damaged, including the coal mine at Zasyodko, the Makiyvka chemical works, an oil refinery and the explosives factory at Petrovske. 
  • Areas of steppes and forests, usually prone to fire in the dry summer, have been burning more than usual. Movement of heavy vehicles has damaged nature reserves.
6 of 7

Impacts on Places (Outside Ukraine)

  • Economic sanctions by the EU and USA have been effective in leading to increased prices and a drop in value of the rouble in Russia. 
  • NATO has increased its strength in potentially vulnerable former Soviet states on the Baltic.
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Case studies resources »