Administrative divisions of Ukraine

Ukraine is divided into several levels of territorial entities. On the first level there are 27 regions:[1] 24 oblasts, one autonomous republic, and two "cities with special status".[2] Since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014, Ukraine's control of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol is disputed.

The administrative division in Ukraine was directly inherited (grandfathered) from the local republican administration of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and has not changed significantly since the middle of the 20th century. It is somewhat complex as beside having several levels of a territorial subdivision, it also has a classification for various populated places, particularly cities.


Simple flow chart of administrative divisions of Ukraine

According to the Article 133 of Constitution of Ukraine, "the system of the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine is composed of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblasts, districts, cities, districts in city, settlements, and villages." Note, that although certain types of subdivision are not mentioned in Constitution of Ukraine (i.e. rural settlements), they are mentioned for regional composition. Also, for disambiguation regular raions (districts) are sometimes denoted as rural to distinguish them from raions in city.[3]

Ukraine's administrative divisions are divided as follows:

Regions, cities, districts are governed by a state administration, a chief of which is appointed by the president after a nomination by the cabinet of ministers.[4] Crimea has its own cabinet of ministers, however the state administration is represented by the office of the Presidential Representative of Ukraine. A basic and the lowest level of administrative division is a settlement that is governed by a local council (rada). Cities as a settlement always carry a special status within a region and have their own form of self-administration (municipality – vykonkom) and some may consist of their own city's districts (raions). City municipalities are governed by a mayor and a city council (miskrada). Some smaller cities, towns, and rural localities may be under control of city municipalities based on larger cities. Towns as well as villages are not controlled by state administration and are self-governed by either a town council (selyshchna rada) or a village council (silrada) within the limits of the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine (article 140 of the Constitution of Ukraine). Village councils may carry a combined jurisdiction which may include several villages and hamlets (selyshche). Unlike villages, each town council always has a separate jurisdiction which may be part of bigger city's council. Hamlet (selyshche) is a non-governed rural locality and is governed by a village council of nearby village.


Ukraine is divided into 3 main administrative divisions: oblast (region), raion (district), and council (city, settlement, and village). Note, settlements such as cities do not necessary constitute the basic level of the Ukrainian administrative territorial system. For that purpose cities are categorized into own three categories that correspond to each level of subdivisions. Cities with special status and regional significance beside being divided into special districts in city may also include smaller cities (district significance), settlements, and/or villages. Please, note that the settlement's population size is not the only factor for its status. The final decision on status change is carried out by the Ukrainian parliament. The following table is based on the 2001 Ukrainian Census.[5]

Level of division[3] Territory Total Corresponding settlements Total Total urban/rural
1 (regions) autonomous republic 1 cities with special status[lower-alpha 1] 2 1,344
oblasts[lower-alpha 2] 24
2 (regional subdivisions) [rural] districts[lower-alpha 3] 490 cities of regional significance[lower-alpha 4] 178
[urban] districts in cities 118
3 (communities)[lower-alpha 5] city councils 454 cities of district significance 274
settlement councils[lower-alpha 6] 783 individual urban-type settlements[lower-alpha 7] 890
village councils 10,278 individual villages 27,190 28,621
[rural] settlements[lower-alpha 8] 1,266


The following numbers are based on the 2001 Ukrainian Census.[5]

Total cities: 454, an increase of 20 compared with the 1989 census.[5]


Before the introduction of oblasts in 1932, Ukraine comprised 40 okruhas, which had replaced the former Russian Imperial guberniya (governorate) subdivisions.

In 1932 the territory of the Ukrainian SSR was re-established based on oblasts. Excluded in the administrative changes was Western Ukraine, which at that time formed part of the Second Polish Republic and shared in the Polish form of administrative division based on voivodeships.

In the post-World War II period, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic consisted of 25 oblasts and two cities with special status.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea obtained the status of an autonomous republic with its own government instead of a regional state administration.


Autonomous republic

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, formerly the Crimean Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR, geographically encompasses the major portion of the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine. Its capital is Simferopol. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is the only region within Ukraine that possesses its own constitution.

On March 16, 2014, after the occupation of Crimea by the Russian military, a referendum on joining the Russian Federation was conducted. A majority of votes supported the measure. On March 21, 2014, the Russian Duma voted to annex Crimea as a subject into the Russian Federation. The Ukrainian government does not recognize the referendum or annexation of Crimea as legitimate. On March 27, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 68/262 by 100 to 11 votes, recognizing the referendum as invalid and denying any legal change in the status of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Autonomous Republic of Crimea Representatives of the President of Ukraine Area (km2) Population (2010) Pop. density Administrative centre Raions/Districts Cities of regional significance [nb 1]
 Crimea Nataliya Popovych 26,100 1,966,801 75 Simferopol[6] 14 11


Main article: Oblasts of Ukraine

Oblasts are on the first (top) level of the administrative division of Ukraine.

Almost every oblast is named after its administrative center, except for two oblasts, Volyn' (Volhynia) and Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia), whose respective capitals are Lutsk and Uzhhorod.

Region Area (km2) Population (2010) Pop. density Administrative centre Raions/Districts Cities of regional significance [nb 2]
 Cherkasy Oblast 20,891 1,291,135 61.80 Cherkasy 20 6
 Chernihiv Oblast 31,851.3 1,104,241 34.67 Chernihiv 22 3
 Chernivtsi Oblast 8,093.6 903,782 111.67 Chernivtsi 11 2
 Dnipropetrovsk Oblast 31,900.5 3,344,073 104.83 Dnipropetrovsk 22 13
 Donetsk Oblast 26,505.7 4,448,031 167.81 Donetsk 18 28
 Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast 13,894.0 1,380,770 99.38 Ivano-Frankivsk 14 6
 Kharkiv Oblast 31,401.6 2,755,177 87.74 Kharkiv 27 7
 Kherson Oblast 28,449 1,091,151 38.35 Kherson 18 3
 Khmelnytskyi Oblast 20,636.2 1,331,534 64.52 Khmelnytskyi 20 6
 Kiev Oblast 28,118.9 1,719,602 61.15 Kiev 25 13
 Kirovohrad Oblast 24,577.5 1,014,809 41.29 Kropyvnytskyi 21 4
 Luhansk Oblast 26,672.5 2,300,412 86.25 Luhansk 18 14
 Lviv Oblast 21,823.7 2,545,634 116.65 Lviv 20 9
 Mykolaiv Oblast 24,587.4 1,186,452 48.25 Mykolaiv 19 5
 Odessa Oblast 33,295.9 2,387,636 71.71 Odessa 26 7
 Poltava Oblast 28,735.8 1,493,668 51.98 Poltava 25 5
 Rivne Oblast 20,038.5 1,152,576 57.52 Rivne 16 4
 Sumy Oblast 23,823.9 1,166,765 48.97 Sumy 18 7
 Ternopil Oblast 13,817.1 1,086,694 78.65 Ternopil 17 1
 Vinnytsia Oblast 26,501.6 1,646,250 62.12 Vinnytsia 27 6
 Volyn Oblast 20,135.3 1,038,223 51.56 Lutsk 16 4
 Zakarpattia Oblast 12,771.5 1,246,323 97.59 Uzhhorod 13 5
 Zaporizhia Oblast 27,168.5 1,805,431 66.45 Zaporizhia 20 5
 Zhytomyr Oblast 29,819.2 1,283,201 43.03 Zhytomyr 23 5

Cities with special status

Two cities carry special status: the city of Kiev which is the capital of Ukraine and the city of Sevastopol. Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, Sevastopol is controlled by Russia and is incorporated as a federal subject of Russia. It is recognized as a part of Ukraine by most of the international community.

City Governor[nb 3] Area Population (2010)
 Kiev Vitali Klitschko[nb 4] 839 km2 (323.9 sq mi) 2,782,016
 Sevastopol vacant 1,079 km2 (416.6 sq mi) 380,301

Second-level subdivision units

Cities of regional significance (regional cities)


Main article: Raions of Ukraine

Raions are smaller territorial units of subdivision in Ukraine. There are 490 raions.

Urban districts


For more details on this topic, see Populated places in Ukraine.
The Dnieper River plays an important part in Ukrainian territorial division, with many large cities settled on its banks. Here, the capital city of Kiev which was founded on the Dnieper's right bank but for now expanded over the river significantly.
Status[7] Status (in Ukrainian) Total Number (in 2006)
misto / city місто 457
  municipality місто зі спеціальним статусом 2
  misto оblastnoho znachennia місто областного значення 176
  misto raionnoho znachennia місто районного значення 279
selyshche miskoho typu / town селище міського типу 886
selo / village сільський населений пункт 28,552
  selysche селище 1,364
  selo село 27,188

Ukraine has two types of settlements: rural and urban. Rural populated areas (сільський населений пункт) can be either a village (село, selo) or a rural settlement (селище). Urban populated areas (міський населений пункт) can be either a city (містo) or an urban-type settlement (селище міського типу). For the sake of brevity, urbanized settlements are sometimes classified as towns in the English language.

Changes to a settlement's status can be made only by the Verkhovna Rada. Please note that the size of a settlement does not ultimately define its status, although is a major factor. For example, the city of Prypiat still retains its status, while having a population of zero, due to its infrastructure, including buildings, roads, and utility networks.

The typical Ukrainian misto ought to be considered a city, not a town (compare to City status in the United Kingdom). However, the city's subordination to either an oblast or raion also should be taken into account, especially in the political sense. Some of urbanized settlements may be cities of raion subordination, although it could seem confusing, a type of settlement should be considered first as its status is given for administrative purposes.


Kiev Oblast for instance, has several regional city municipalities such as Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, for example, that are under direct subordination to the regional authorities. They are officially known as cities of regional significance.
Drohobych, is a city of oblast subordinance, subordinate to the Lviv Oblast authorities rather than to the local Drohobych Raion administration.

According to Ukrainian law a city (місто) in Ukraine is a locality of at least 10,000 people.[8] Cities may carry various status. Some may be of national importance, others of regional (oblast) importance, and the rest of district (raion) importance. For example, the cities of Kiev and of Sevastopol have special status of national significance and each is officially classified as a city with a special status, which administratively is equivalent to an oblast. Mayors of those cities, in general, as are governors of oblasts, are appointed by the President of Ukraine. However, the status of the mayor of Kiev is somewhat more complex, and for further information see Legal status and local government of Kiev. The status of Sevastopol is also unique.

Almost every oblast has at least one city of regional subordination (importance), which is the administrative center (capital) of that oblast. However, some other big cities within the oblast may have such status as well. The cities of oblast subordination have the same importance of a raion, and often are the administrative centers of such. In addition to regular raions, several Ukrainian cities with national or oblast status are further divided into city raions which may include other cities, towns, and/or villages. In 2010, Ukraine had 23 such cities with their own city raions.

Many raions also have city municipalities of its level of subordination (importance). Those are usually the administrative centers (capitals). Notice that not all raions have a city as their administrative center; however all the raion centers are at least urban-like (urbanized). All administrative centers have their own form of self-administration. The municipalities of a raion subordination may administer several adjacent local councils (municipalities), usually rural. If a raion has several cities of raion (district) level, they may share administrative power for the raion.

Other municipalities

In addition to city municipalities, Ukraine has urban-like municipalities. The lowest form of self-administration are the rural municipalities and villages. A rural municipality may consist of a single village, usually big, or a combination of other rural villages or localities. Note that some villages also have some additional, very small settlements. Those settlements, together with the home village, combine a local (rural) municipality (silrada). For simplicity's sake, a silrada (rural municipality) is usually referred to as a village and is the lowest level of administrative division. The status of any settlement is granted by the Verkhovna Rada.

Other administrations

Ukraine also has several settlements known as viiskove mistechko which were former military installations. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the secrecy of such settlements has been unveiled, however, the towns are subordinated directly to the Ministry of Defense and do not have their own civil administrations. Such military installations are like ghost towns that are not even identified on a map. One of them, on the border of the Kiev and Zhytomyr Oblasts is Makarov-1.[9]

A special territory known as the zone of alienation falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Emergencies and was the most severely affected territory by the Chernobyl disaster. Additionally, various restricted nature preserves known as Zapovednik fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Ecology. Due to the War in Donbass, the status of civil–military administrations was created in territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts where the respective local government units cannot exercise their constitutionally guaranteed powers.[10]

A mix of modern and old buildings in Dnipropetrovsk, located in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Dnipropetrovsk's metropolitan area includes cities such as Kamianske and Novomoskovsk.

Currently, Ukraine has the following 3 enclaves:

Metropolitan areas

Ukraine has five major agglomerated metropolitan areas (conurbations). These conurbation areas are not officially recognized and remain to be administered according to official oblast-raion system of subdivision.

Other divisions

Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) geographic division of Ukraine used in their polls.

Beside the administrative divisions, geographical divisions are at times used for reference purposes. The division splits Ukraine into 4 to 6 geographic areas: Western Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, Southern Ukraine, Central Ukraine, Northern Ukraine (occasionally used), and Southeastern Ukraine.

Coincidentally, in the 19th century Ukraine was also split into 3 general-governments of the Russian Empire (General-government of Kiev, General-government of Little Russia, and General-government of New Russian and Bessarabia), while the western portion of Ukraine was part of Austria-Hungary.

See also


  1. City municipalities that are administrated as a separate region.
  2. Often translated as province
  3. Normally identification of rural is not used with raions, while for disambiguation districts in cities are identified with those cities.
  4. Regional municipalities may include cities of oblast or republican (in case of Crimea) significance.
  5. small municipalities (councils)
  6. Often times, the identification of "urban" with "settlement" is not used and raises some ambiguity with smaller rural settlements.
  7. Also referred to as towns.
  8. Normally identification of rural is not used.


  1. "cities of regional significance" is a translation of Ukrainian: Міста обласного значення.
  2. "cities of regional significance" is a translation of Ukrainian: Міста обласного значення.
  3. Chairman of the Regional (or City) State Administration.
  4. Vitaliy Klychko serves both as a mayor and a governor for the city of Kiev since 25 June 2014 (see Mayor of Kiev).

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