The Ukraine is the way the Russians referred to that part of the country during Soviet times. Nowadays, people still say that, but technically you should refer to the country without the article.
How could the Russians refer to Ukraine as "The Ukraine", when there is no definite article in Russian? Did they use the pronoun "this" or "that"? :)
Probably when they used English, I'm not sure to be honest... In any case, that's how it was referred to in the Soviet era, and that's no longer the case now that Ukraine is an independent nation.
It's the world (and not Soviets) who called it "the Ukraine". Ukraine was "the republic of Ukraine" and also considered as "the region" of Ukraine inside the "country" USSR.
Now that Ukraine is independent, it would be rude to add that article and keep considering it as "part of another country" or as a republic of the USSR.
More about this article issue: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-ukraine-isnt-the-ukraine-and-why-that-matters-now-2013-12?IR=T
It does not make sense to me it is the United Kindom and never the Wales, the Scotland.
Why is it written Oekraïne and not Oekraine? As far as I know "ai" is not a combination like ie that gets the diaeresis when the two vowels are pronounced separately like in Azië. Is it because the stress falls on the i instead of the a?
The trema has nothing to do with stress, it's to indicate which vowels have to be pronounced.
Ai (without a trema) is used for instance in Thailand, it is pronounced like Scoub does here: http://forvo.com/word/thailand/#nl
Aï (with a trema) is used for instance in Oekraïne, it is pronounced like Scoub does here (maybe not super clear, but it has separate a and i sounds): http://forvo.com/word/oekraïne/#nl
Got it,thanks, I was confused because I knew about the eu, oe, ui diphthongs in Dutch, which sound different from their individual components, so I understood why you write ruïne, in the case of Thailand it sounds like draaien, and there the a and the i sounds are in the same syllable, unlike in Oekraïne.
I got this wrong for writing "the Ukraine" in English, and yet I've never heard it called just "Ukraine".
"The Ukraine" is an obsolete name. You won't find "the" near "Ukraine" in any respectable British or American newspaper.