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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.
During the 20th century three periods of independence occurred.
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).
The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD.
In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria.
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.
According to the Primary Chronicle the Rus' elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia.
The Golden Age of Kievan Rus' began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus' toward Byzantine Christianity.
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.
Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world.