Ukraine is a republic in eastern Europe which borders Russia to the east, Belarus to the north, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest and the Black Sea to the south. A nation of mostly steppes first inhabited by a succession of local tribes, Ukraine was consolidated by invaders from Scandinavia who founded the state of Kievan Rus in the 10th century. Their dynasty was weakened by Asian invaders, and the area subsequently came to be ruled by Lithuania and Poland. Eastern part of central Ukraine effectively merged with Russia in 1654, beginning three centuries of domination by Russia and its successor, the Soviet Union.At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Ukraine suffered greatly during the Russian Revolution, the Russian Civil War, forced starvation under Stalin, and World Wars I and II. Its people persevered, and the Ukrainian language and culture emerged largely intact from the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.