It is the largest wholly-European country and the second largest country in Europe (after the European part of Russia, before metropolitan France). It lies between latitudes 44° and 53° N, and longitudes 22° and 41° E.
The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains (or steppes) and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper (Dnipro), Seversky Donets, Dniester and the Southern Buh as they flow south into the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov. To the southwest, the delta of the Danube forms the border with Romania.
The country's only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains in the west, of which the highest is the Hora Hoverla at 2,061 metres (6,762 ft), and those on the Crimean peninsula, in the extreme south along the coast. However Ukraine also has a number of highland regions such as the Volyn-Podillia Upland (in the west) and the Near-Dnipro Upland (on the right bank of Dnieper); to the east there are the south-western spurs of the Central Russian Uplands over which runs the border with Russia. Near the Sea of Azov can be found the Donets Ridge and the Near Azov Upland.
Significant natural resources in Ukraine include iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber and an abundance of arable land. Despite this, the country faces a number of major environmental issues such as inadequate supplies of potable water; air and water pollution and deforestation, as well as radiation contamination in the north-east from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate, although a more Mediterranean climate is found on the southern Crimean coast. Precipitation is disproportionately distributed; it is highest in the west and north and lowest in the east and southeast. Western Ukraine, receives around 1,200 millimetres (47.2 in) of precipitation annually, while Crimea receives around 400 millimetres (15.7 in).
Winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland. Average annual temperatures range from 5.5 °C (41.9 °F)–7 °C (44.6 °F) in the north, to 11 °C (51.8 °F)–13 °C (55.4 °F) in the south.