This book was written back in 1988 but is on its 4th edition to update from independence to current time. The Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Ukraine-A-History-Orest-Subtelny/dp/1442609915/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Well worth the read if you want to truly understand the significance of the region, not only to Russia but to the Europe and Asia regions as well

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