Ukraine Flag Colors and Meaning

Colors and the Meaning of the Ukraine Flag

The Ukrainian flag colors are blue and yellow. The flag displays these colors in two equally sized horizontal bars, with blue on top and yellow below. In modern times, the blue is said to represent peace and the color of the sky, while the yellow represents prosperity in the form of the golden wheat fields that are an important element of Ukrainian history.

There have been some changes to Ukraine’s flag and its associated colors in the past, and there are some other flags that are still associated with Ukraine today. In this post, we’ll take a look at how the Ukraine flag has changed over the years as well as some other flags and symbols that are used in the country.

The outline of Ukraine is filled in with the colors and design of the Ukrainian flag. The Ukrainian flag can also be seen in the upper-right-hand corner of the image.
Ukraine Flag Map

Ukraine Flag Facts

Blue skies can be seen over a yellow wheat field.
Golden wheat under a clear blue sky in the background. Symbol of Ukraine – Ukrainian national blue & yellow flag.

Why did Ukraine change their flag?

Ukraine has had to change its flag multiple times due to changes in political rule. While Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian flag was banned and a Soviet flag was required. Ukraine then reclaimed its national flag after it gained independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

How old is the Ukrainian flag?

Blue skies can be seen over a yellow wheat field.

The current design of the Ukrainian flag is 96 years old, but this was not Ukraine’s first national flag. The first national flag of Ukraine was adopted in 1848 by revolutionists fighting for independence from Austro-Hungarian rule. This flag was the same as the current flag, except that the colors were reversed.
In 1918, the design of the Ukrainian flag as it is currently known was decided upon, although with slightly different shades of blue and yellow. The colors were reversed to symbolize blue skies over golden fields of wheat.
The colors appeared in reversed order in various previous versions of the flag, with yellow appearing on top, but the current color scheme was decided upon in 1992. The shades of blue and yellow were also lighter in previous versions.

What is the red and black Ukrainian flag?

The bicolor red and black flag belongs to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. This was a nationalist paramilitary group formed during World War II. The group’s actions during the war involved guerilla military actvities against the Soviet Union, the Polish Underground State, Communist Poland, and Nazi Germany.
In more recent times, the red and black flag has been associated with Ukrainian nationalism. The red on top of black colors are said to represent the blood of Ukrainians blackening the earth below.

What is the symbol on the Ukrainian flag?

Ukrainian flag featuring the coat of arms.

The symbol seen on the Ukrainian coat of arms is the Ukrainian trident, called the etryzubu in Ukrainian. The symbol comes from Volodymyr the Great, the first Grand Prince of Kyiv. He was among the first of the Kievan Rus to convert to Christianity in 988.
The trident was first thought of as a national symbol when Ukrainian historian Mykhailo Hrushevskyi suggested adopting it in 1917. During Soviet control from 1919 until 1991, the symbols used in the country were those related to the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine officially adopted the emblem as the small coat of arms in February 1992.

Ukrainian flag featuring the coat of arms.
The state coat of arms and flag of Ukraine

History of the Ukraine Flag

The history of flags used in Ukraine is long, and many changes have taken place in the last millennium. Even today, there are multiple flags associated with the country. By tracing the history of the Ukrainian flag, it’s possible to arrive at a better understanding of the country’s history.

The use of the yellow and blue colors dates back thousands of years to the pre-Christian era, when the colors represented fire and water. The colors were almost certainly used in the Battle of Grunwald that took place in 1410 by militias in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

There are some, however, that claim the general design of the current Ukrainian flag was first devised in 1848 during the Spring of Nations, or the revolutions of 1848 in the Austrian Empire. 

During this time, a yellow-and-blue banner was used by the Supreme Ruthenian Council in Lviv. This was the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. New Ukrainian divisions of the Austrian army used yellow-and-blue banners in their emblems.

During Ukraine’s struggle for independence in 1917, blue and yellow flags were used widely. Around this time, Ukrainian flags of blue and yellow were flown in several places in the Russian Empire, even outside of Ukrainian lands. The flying of this flag lasted throughout Ukraine’s early independence until it came under Soviet rule in 1922.

The Ukrainian flag was banned while the country was part of the Soviet Union. Various varieties of a flag based on the red October Revolution flag were used during this time.

Ukraine Flag: a horizontal blue banner on top of an equally sized yellow banner.
National flag of country Ukraine

Soviet Ukraine

While Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union, the flag of the nation changed completely. In fact, anyone displaying the blue and yellow flag used in early Ukrainian independence could be subject to criminal prosecution for “anti-Soviet propaganda.” 

The flag that was used during Soviet rule adopted the red from the flag of the October Revolution. A variety of flags were used in Soviet Ukraine between 1922 and 1991, though they all featured a mostly red background. The letters of the U.S.S.R. or U.R.S.R. and the gold hammer and sickle were also used.

Just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1990, the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag was flown in various towns across Ukraine for the first time since the establishment of the Soviet Union.

After declaring independence in August 1991, Ukraine flew a blue and yellow flag that had slightly different shades of blue and yellow from the current version. In 1922, the official colors and design for the Ukrainian flag were agreed upon.

Neighboring Countries of Ukraine

This political map shows Ukraine and its borders with neighboring countries.
Neighboring Countries of Ukraine

As seen on the political map of Ukraine, the country is bordered by six others. It shares the highest amount of its border with Russia, which is to the east and northeast of Ukraine. Its northern border is shared with Belarus, and Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova all lie to the country’s west and southwest.

There are also two major bodies of water that border Ukraine: the Black Sea and the Azov Sea.

Main Characteristics of Ukraine

Ukraine is a European country that normally welcomes millions of tourists every year with its nature, mountains, architecture, history, beaches, and nightlife. Due to the 2022 Russian invasion of the country, tourism has effectively disappeared, but there are plenty of reasons to visit Ukraine when the country isn’t involved in war.

The capital city of Ukraine is Kyiv, which is also the largest city in the country. There are a total of 26 oblasts (regions) in Ukraine. Of these, the Odessa Oblast is the largest by size, and the Donetsk Oblast is largest in terms of population.

The official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian, and it is the most spoken language in the country before Russian. Much of the Ukrainian population also speaks Russian, and it is the first language of about 15% of people living in the country. Other languages spoken in the country include Yiddish, German, Polish, Romanian, and others.

Ukraine has a temperate continental climate, which means there can be dramatic changes in the weather from season to season. Average annual temperatures fall between 5.5–7 °C (41.9–44.6 °F) in the north and 11–13 °C (51.8–55.4 °F) in the south.

Calling code380
Capital cityKyiv
CurrencyUkrainian Hryvnia (UAH)
Emoji symbol🇺🇦
Highest pointHora Hoverla(2,061 m)
Population(2022 estimate)43,192,122
Total area603,700 km2
Ukraine Key Facts

Popularity of the Ukraine Flag

Demonstrator holding "Stand with Ukraine"
Demonstrator holding “Stand with Ukraine”

The Ukrainian flag is one of the most recognizable flags today, and that has a great deal to do with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. People all around the world have been purchasing and displaying the flag of Ukraine in shows of solidarity with the country.

People with the Ukrainian flag. Anti-war protest near Brandenburg Gate against Russian invasion of Ukraine. Berlin, Germany, 13.03.2022.
Anti-war protest near Brandenburg Gate against Russian invasion of Ukraine. Berlin, Germany, 13.03.2022

The current events in Ukraine have made the flag one of the most famous in the world. What was once a flag that was probably not known by many outside of Ukraine can now be seen in nearly every country in the world. There have even been shortages of the flag in many flag retailers because of the increased demand.