The Paleolithic early Stone Age bears witness to human presence on the territory of present-day Ukraine. One of the planet’s oldest human settlements, separated from our time by 800,000 years, was unearthed in the territory of present-day Ukraine near Korol`ove, a village in Transcarpathia. In 1899 the world came to know about the Trypillia culture which appeared in the mid-fourth millennium B.C.
The coming centuries saw the formation of new ethnic and cultural communities in Ukraine. Written sources mention the Cimmerians, the Taurians, the Scythians, the Antes and the Slavs.
Over a thousand years ago, on the vast expanses stretching from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to the Volga River in the east, from the Black Sea in the south to the White Sea in the north, appeared one of the largest and mightiest medieval powers, Kyiv Rus.
In 882, the most legendary Prince Oleh the Seer defeated Kyiv Princes Askold and Dir and rallied round Kyiv the Slavic tribes of Eastern Europe. «Let Kyiv be Mother of Rus cities», he said as the chronicle reads.
Under the first Kyiv Princes Oleh the Seer, Ihor the Elder and Svi-atoslav the Warrior Kyiv Rus became a strong power in Eastern Europe. In 955, Kyiv Princess Olha was baptized at Constantinopol. The Eastern Orthodox faith was introduced in Rus by Prince Volodymyr the Great, and the first ceremony of baptism took place in 988.
It was under Prince Volodymyr the Great (980—1015) and Prince Yaroslav the Wise (1019—1054) that Kyiv Rus reached its apex, becoming a major factor in European politics. But in the twelfth century feudal strife split Kyiv Rus into principalities and lands.
Then came the formidable Mongol hords of Batu Khan, emptying wheat fields and ruining ancient cities. In 1240 the invaders approached Kyiv. The siege was long, but the enemy was strong and the capital fell.