Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but sources since then have moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses.
Nonetheless it formed a limited military partnership with the Russian Federation and other CIS countries and a partnership with NATO in 1994.
The diversified economy of Ukraine includes a large heavy industry sector, particularly in aerospace and industrial equipment.
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.
The third period of independence began in 1991, when Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War.
Ukraine has maintained its independence as a sovereign state ever since.