Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe. Its various regions have diverse geographic features ranging from the highlands to the lowlands.
Ukraine has a strategic position in East Central Europe, bordering the Black Sea in the south, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in the west, Belarus in the north, Moldova and Romania in the south-west and Russia in the east.
The northern part of the Carpathian Mountains reach into Ukraine in the western part of the country. The highest peak is Hoverla, which is 2061 m or 6762 ft tall. Most of Ukraine's area is taken up by the steppe-like region just north of the Black Sea. Ukraine is divided almost in half by the Dnipro river, which traverses Ukraine north to south. It empties into the Black Sea, just west of the Crimea and near the mouths of the Bug and the Dnister rivers. The border with Russia is the country's longest border, and it runs through the Sea of Azov.
The total geographic area of Ukraine is 603,700 square kilometers.
Most of Ukraine consists of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus.
Mountains are limited to the west, the southern tip of Ukraine on the Crimean Peninsula, and near the Sea of Azov. The western region has the Carpathian Mountains, the Crimean Peninsula has the Crimean Mountains, and some eroded mountains from the Donets Ridge are in the east near the Sea of Azov. The highest elevation in Ukraine is located at the peak of Mount Hoverla which is 2,061 meters above sea level.
The territory of Ukraine is bordered by the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. 90% of the rivers are part of those two seas' drainage basins. A few rivers are part of the Baltic Sea basin. There are seven major rivers in Ukraine: Desna, Dnipro, Dnister, Danube, Prypiat, Siverian Donets, and Southern Buh.
Ukraine has a temperate continental climate. June and July are usually the wettest months, while February is usually the driest. Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland; summers are warm across the greater part of the country, and tend to be very hot in the south.
Significant natural resources in Ukraine include: iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber, and arable land.
Ukraine does have some environmental concerns. Some regions lack adequate supplies of potable water. Air and water pollution affects the country, as well as deforestation, and radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.