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Exterior views of Kiev's landmark St. Andrew's Church which stands at the top of Andrew's Descent. The city of Kiev, known as Kyiv in Ukrainian, suffered substantial damage during World War 2 and its infrastructure has continued to suffer from under-investment despite a growing economy since Ukrainian independence. Ukraine was a republic within the former Soviet Union which broke away from the USSR and formed its own sovereign state in August 1991 although the eastern half of the country still maintained close links with Russia.