Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles It’s been a tough few years for Ukraine. Fighting has been ongoing in the eastern part of the country for years now, between separatist, pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian government. The fighting started back in 2014, when Russia invaded and annexed a part of the country, Crimea. The United States and NATO allies have been debating just how much aid, and weaponry, to give Ukraine in this fight. In the face of internal and external strife, we wanted to know, just how powerful is Ukraine? Ukraine is physically the largest country in Europe, coming in at almost a quarter of a million square miles in size. It’s also the 46th largest country in the world, but for comparison, actually just a little bit smaller than the state of Texas. About 44 million people live there, which puts it on par with Argentina in terms of total population. But in terms of population density, it’s fairly spread out. The former Soviet republic is about 78% ethnically Ukrainian and 17% ethnically Russian, according to the most recent Ukrainian census. The remaining 5% are a combination of ethnicities from the surrounding countries. But the fight over ethnicity and national identity is what has caused some of the deadliest battles seen in any post-Soviet state. While a minority of the country wants to be seen as Russian, the rest, a majority including the government, want to stay distinctly Ukrainian. In terms of economy, the GDP of Ukraine in 2016 was about $93 billion dollars. They suffered a severe downturn in recent years, worsened by the political and military crisis - in 2014, the Ukrainian currency reached historic lows against the U.S. dollar, and the country was in a lot of debt. The International Monetary Fund approved a bailout for Ukraine, and now the World Bank has reported a small uptick in growth in 2016 - about 2.3%. That would mean the economy is recovering slightly and is out of a recession, with the 2017 GDP projected to rise a little to $104 billion dollars. The Ukrainian military is ranked 30th in the world, with 1.1 million troops and a defense budget of $5.1 billion dollars. That’s 6% of the country’s GDP, one of the highest ratios in the world. This is another area where the Crimean crisis and war in eastern Ukraine has had a significant effect on the country. In 2014 they re-established the National Guard of Ukraine, something that was disbanded 14 years prior, and currently boasts almost 60,000 troops. They’ve also increased military spending and have been trying to purchase additional arms and defense systems from the United States. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but Ukraine is already conducting military exercises with NATO allies under the Partnership for Peace. the Partnership for Peace has the goal of establishing trust and cooperation between NATO states and post-Soviet states. Ukraine is not currently a member of NATO, though they have been pursuing membership, another point of conflict with Russia. Ukraine is stuck between its past and the present; while much of the population yearns for closer relations with the European Union and the United States, Russian military and economic forces have a stranglehold on some parts of the country. While they continue to build up their military and continue to rebuild their economy, they’re less powerful than they want to be, and still have a lot of progress to make toward establishing a national post-Soviet identity. One of the biggest struggles for Ukraine in recent years was Russia’s invasion of Crimea. This form of annexation was surprising, as this form of forceful and secretive invasion hasn’t been seen in a long long time. So how exactly did Putin’s army pull it off? Check out this video to the right. Thanks for watching NowThis World, and don’t forget to like and subscribe for more episodes like this every week!