Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) have been following the news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They decide to tell the story of the History of Ukraine going back over a 1000 years. ----more---- Their story starts with the Vikings. A thousand years ago Viking explorers left Scandinavia. Many of them went West and attacked England and France. Some even found America. Others went East and began exploring the huge rivers in what is now Russia. Eventually they found a town on a hill by a river. They attacked the town and took it for themselves. They called it Kyiv. They founded a mighty empire called the Kyivan Rus. They ruled all the land between what is now Kyiv and Scandinavia. Kiev was a mighty capital city. Moscow was just a small village that they ruled. They got rich from trade with Constantinople and became Christians.
Then the Mongols came from the East. They destroyed Kyivan Rus. They burned many cities and towns – Moscow was destroyed and Kyiv conquered.
For hundreds of years the Mongols ruled what we now call Ukraine and much of what we now call Russia. Slowly the people around Moscow managed to get rid of them and so did the Poles. The Poles and Russians then fought over who would control Ukraine. The Russians won and conquered Ukraine. However, the people of Ukraine did not forget that they had been a free people. 200 years ago many of them started to remember what it was like to be free and write stories and poems about it.
Then World War One started. Millions of Russians were killed. There was a revolution and the people of Ukraine rose up and set up their own country. The new Russian government was called the Soviet Union. They were communists. They attacked Ukraine and conquered it. They then forced Ukraine into the Soviet Union and made them be communist. They were so bad at running the country that millions of Ukrainians were killed by famine.
Then Germany under Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. He wanted to make all Russians and Ukrainians into slaves. Together the Russians and Ukrainians fought back. They defeated Hitler with the help of Britain, her Empire and America.
However, after the war finished the Soviet Union would not let those countries it had conquered go free. It forced them to be communist and killed or imprisoned anyone who disagreed with it.
Eventually all of Eastern Europe and the parts of the Soviet Union rebelled. The Soviet Union collapsed.
Ukraine became a free people again. Now they had their own country again and could rule themselves.
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