Denmark recognized Ukraine on December 31, 1991, only a few months after Ukrainian independence. The first diplomatic meeting between the two countries occurred just a couple of months later. But, the relationship between Denmark and Ukraine goes back far further than that. Archeological evidence and historical documents indicate that Denmark and Ukraine had trade relationships over one thousand years ago.
A number of Viking amulets, such as ones depicting Thor’s hammer, have been found along the Dnieper River. Researchers think that the Nordic tribes used the river to travel down to the Black Sea. This alternate trade route would have become necessary after the Arab conquest of the Mediterranean. Along the way, they would have stopped at Kiev and traded there before heading to Byzantium. This would have continued until trade was interrupted by the Turkish Empire in 1068.
There is also evidence that the two lands assisted one another militarily. One history, Saxo Denmark Chronicle, tells the story of a Danish king, Halfdan, who, in the eighth century, traveled to what is now Russia to defend against an invasion by a Swedish King. According to the history, they were met with honors there and offered lands in thanks for their assistance.
Some historians also believe that the 9th century Danish royal Rørik is the same figure known as Rurik. Rurik was a Varangian chieftan who established the Rurik Dynasty, which ruled Kiev Rus until the 17th century.
In modern times, Denmark and Ukraine each have an embassy in the other’s country. Denmark was also one of the countries to recognize an earlier independent Ukrainian government; they recognized the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1918. There is substantial trade between Denmark and Ukraine, as well. There are about 150 Danish businesses in Ukraine; about 200 Danish expats live in the country. In 2003, trade between the two countries added up to $250 million dollars.
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