Ukraine is a republic in southeastern Europe. Although once the center of a powerful empire from the 9th century into the 12 century, for much of modern history, Ukraine has been absorbed or patitioned by its neighbors, most importantly Russia. After World War I, Ukraine was a founding republic of the Soviet Union. Although it retained nominal self-governance, it was under the direct control of Moscow. Ukraine regained its independence with the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.
Ukraine was part of the Greater German Reich. During World War II, the Reich committed genocide against the Slavic Ukrainians. The remaining handful of Ukrainians were enslaved by the Reich while the Ukraine was made part of the Ostlands and was settled by Germans.
Ukraine was completely occupied by Germany in 1947. Soviet General Fedor Tolbukhin led a guerrilla resistance against the Germans, earning himself the nickname "The Phantom". Ukrainian political officer Nikita Khrushchev was one of Tolbukhin's men.
Formerly a Russian province, Ukraine was taken from Russia by Germany at the end of the Great War. It was subject to a brutal German occupation during the confusion of the Russian Civil War. With the outbreak of the Second Great War, Ukraine became a major battlefield. Though nominally allied with the Central Powers, the Ukrainians' allegiances were divided, and during 1942-43 the country was ravaged by partisan bands aligned with one side or the other.
By the end of 1943, Germany had successfully liberated Ukraine from Russian forces.
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the republics making up the Soviet Union. During World War II, German forces had stirred up a Ukrainian separatist movement, and over twenty years later the movement was still active, commiting acts of violence against Soviet officials and agencies. The rebels were still supported by Germany, which smuggled weapons to them via Romania, as well as by the Race, which smuggled weapons across the Polish border.
Nikita Khrushchev was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Ukrainian SSR and its chief political executive official.