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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Ukraine

WARNING: Ukraine is politically unstable, please read this travel warning before going!

Geography

Ukrainian Geography - Field reflecting the flag
Field reflecting the flag

Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe and dominates much of the Black Sea's northern coast. It is a fairly large and geographically diverse country, stretching to the Carpathian Mountains in the west of the country. Ukraine is bordered by Poland (west), Slovakia (west), Hungary (west), Romania (southwest), Moldova (southwest), Russia (east and northeast), and Belarus (north).

Geographically, Ukraine is fairly diverse. The Carpathian Mountains pass through the west, but these mountains are not difficult to traverse so much as they are at elevation. This has slowed trade and transportation, but has allowed great growth for the country as a whole as rivers from here feed the rest of the country, making the country very livable. Most of the Crimean Peninsula in the south is fairly dry and living here is difficult; along the rainy southern tip of the peninsula living conditions greatly improve.

Weather

Ukrainian Geography - Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains

Ukraine's seasons are very distinct and geographical differences make these seasons more pronounced. Winters (December-February) can be very cold, especially in the east, where temperatures in Kharkov average about 20˚ F (-7˚ C) and rarely get above freezing. The Carpathian Mountains in the west are slightly warmer, but due to the elevation can be colder and generally snowier. The Crimean Peninsula rarely gets cold enough for snow.

The spring and fall (autumn) experience unpredictable temperatures and precipitation, yet temperatures are warmer than in winter, making most mountain ranges accessible and the Crimean Peninsula warm, but not too hot.

Summers in both the Carpathian Mountains and the Crimean Peninsula are fairly moderate. Most of the country remains in the 70s F (21-27˚ C) during this time, although the Black Sea coast can get hotter.

Wildlife

Ukraine's forests are home to a number of large mammals including deer, elk, wolves, bears, and boar. There are also smaller mammals, both in the forests and in the plains (or steppe), including squirrels, marmots, and mice. Ukraine also has numerous fish species, both in the salt-water Black Sea and in their many freshwater rivers and lakes. These fish include sturgeon, trout, perch, and mackerel among others.

Ukraine has a decent number of birds, although many are only migratory birds passing by depending on the season. More impressive is the variety of birds, including cranes, grouse, eagles, and pelicans.

This page was last updated: November, 2013