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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.
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.
The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD.
After an Avar raid in 602 and the collapse of the Antes Union, most of these peoples survived as separate tribes until the beginning of the second millennium.
At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.
In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Antes were located in the territory of what is now Ukraine.
The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.
It is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Council of Europe, OSCE, GUAM, and one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
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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.