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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.

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According to the Primary Chronicle the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia.

The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus' toward Byzantine Christianity.

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.

In the 2000s, the government began leaning towards NATO, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan signed in 2002.

It was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future.

bordered by Russia to the east and northeast; Belarus to the northwest; Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia to the west; Romania and Moldova to the southwest; and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.

Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014 making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

The Antes were the ancestors of Ukrainians: White Croats, Severians, Polans, Drevlyans, Dulebes, Ulichians, and Tiverians.

Migrations from Ukraine throughout the Balkans established many Southern Slavic nations.

Northern migrations, reaching almost to the Ilmen Lakes, led to the emergence of the Ilmen Slavs, Krivichs, and Radimichs, the groups ancestral to the Russians.

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