Ukraine 1996 Constitution (reviewed 2019)

Table of Contents


The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on behalf of the Ukrainian people – citizens of Ukraine of all nationalities,

expressing the sovereign will of the people,

based on the centuries-old history of Ukrainian state-building and on the right to self-determination realised by the Ukrainian nation, all the Ukrainian people,

providing for the guarantee of human rights and freedoms and of the worthy conditions of human life,

caring for the strengthening of civil harmony on Ukrainian soil, and confirming the European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine,

striving to develop and strengthen a democratic, social, law-based state,

aware of our responsibility before God, our own conscience, past, present and future generations,

guided by the Act of Declaration of the Independence of Ukraine of 24 August 1991, approved by the national vote of 1 December 1991,

adopts this Constitution — the Fundamental Law of Ukraine.

Chapter I. General Principles

Article 1

Ukraine is a sovereign and independent, democratic, social, law-based state.

Article 2

The sovereignty of Ukraine extends throughout its entire territory.

Ukraine is a unitary state.

The territory of Ukraine within its present border is indivisible and inviolable.

Article 3

The human being, his or her life and health, honour and dignity, inviolability and security are recognised in Ukraine as the highest social value.

Human rights and freedoms and their guarantees determine the essence and orientation of the activity of the State. The State is answerable to the individual for its activity. To affirm and ensure human rights and freedoms is the main duty of the State.

Article 4

There is single citizenship in Ukraine. The grounds for the acquisition and termination of Ukrainian citizenship are determined by law.

Article 5

Ukraine is a republic.

The people are the bearers of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine. The people exercise power directly and through bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government.

The right to determine and change the constitutional order in Ukraine belongs exclusively to the people and shall not be usurped by the State, its bodies or officials.

No one shall usurp state power.

Article 6

State power in Ukraine is exercised on the principles of its division into legislative, executive and judicial power.

Bodies of legislative, executive and judicial power exercise their authority within the limits established by this Constitution and in accordance with the laws of Ukraine.

Article 7

In Ukraine, local self-government is recognised and guaranteed.

Article 8

In Ukraine, the principle of the rule of law is recognised and effective.

The Constitution of Ukraine has the highest legal force. Laws and other normative legal acts are adopted on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine and shall conform to it.

The norms of the Constitution of Ukraine are norms of direct effect. Appeals to the court in defence of the constitutional rights and freedoms of the individual and citizen directly on the grounds of the Constitution of Ukraine are guaranteed.

Article 9

International treaties that are in force, agreed to be binding by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, are part of the national legislation of Ukraine.

The conclusion of international treaties that contravene the Constitution of Ukraine is possible only after introducing relevant amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine.

Article 10

The state language of Ukraine is the Ukrainian language.

The State ensures the comprehensive development and functioning of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of social life throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed.

The State promotes the learning of languages of international communication.

The use of languages in Ukraine is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and is determined by law.

Article 11

The State promotes the consolidation and development of the Ukrainian nation, of its historical consciousness, traditions and culture, and also the development of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of all indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine.

Article 12

Ukraine provides for the satisfaction of national and cultural, and linguistic needs of Ukrainians residing beyond the borders of the State.

Article 13

The land, its mineral wealth, atmosphere, water and other natural resources within the territory of Ukraine, the natural resources of its continental shelf, and the exclusive (maritime) economic zone, are objects of the right of property of the Ukrainian people. Ownership rights on behalf of the Ukrainian people are exercised by bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government within the limits determined by this Constitution.

Every citizen has the right to utilise the natural objects of the people’s right of property in accordance with the law.

Property entails responsibility. Property shall not be used to the detriment of the person and society.

The State ensures the protection of the rights of all subjects of the right of property and economic management, and the social orientation of the economy. All subjects of the right of property are equal before the law.

Article 14

Land is the fundamental national wealth that is under special state protection.

The right of property to land is guaranteed. This right is acquired and realised by citizens, legal persons and the State, exclusively in accordance with the law.

Article 15

Social life in Ukraine is based on the principles of political, economic and ideological diversity.

No ideology shall be recognised by the State as mandatory.

Censorship is prohibited.

The State guarantees freedom of political activity not prohibited by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine.

Article 16

To ensure ecological safety and to maintain the ecological balance on the territory of Ukraine, to overcome the consequences of the Chornobyl catastrophe – a catastrophe of global scale, and to preserve the gene pool of the Ukrainian people, is the duty of the State.

Article 17

To protect the sovereignty and territorial indivisibility of Ukraine, and to ensure its economic and informational security are the most important functions of the State and a matter of concern for all the Ukrainian people.

The defence of Ukraine and the protection of its sovereignty, territorial indivisibility and inviolability, are entrusted to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ensuring state security and protecting the state border of Ukraine are entrusted to the respective military formations and law enforcement bodies of the State, whose organisation and operational procedure are determined by law.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations shall not be used by anyone to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens or with the intent to overthrow the constitutional order, subvert the bodies of power or obstruct their activity.

The State ensures the social protection of citizens of Ukraine who serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and in other military formations as well as of members of their families.

The creation and operation of any armed formations not envisaged by law are prohibited on the territory of Ukraine.

The location of foreign military bases shall not be permitted on the territory of Ukraine.

Article 18

The foreign political activity of Ukraine is aimed at ensuring its national interests and security by maintaining peaceful and mutually beneficial co-operation with members of the international community, according to generally acknowledged principles and norms of international law.

Article 19

The legal order in Ukraine is based on the principles according to which no one shall be forced to do what is not envisaged by legislation.

Bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government and their officials are obliged to act only on the grounds, within the limits of authority, and in the manner envisaged by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine.

Article 20

The state symbols of Ukraine are the State Flag of Ukraine, the State Coat of Arms of Ukraine and the State Anthem of Ukraine.

The State Flag of Ukraine is a banner of two equally-sized horizontal bands of blue and yellow.

The Great State Coat of Arms of Ukraine shall be established with the consideration of the Small State Coat of Arms of Ukraine and the Coat of Arms of the Zaporozhian Host, by the law adopted by no less than two-thirds of the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The main element of the Great State Coat of Arms of Ukraine is the Emblem of the Royal State of Volodymyr the Great (the Small State Coat of Arms of Ukraine).

The State Anthem of Ukraine is the national anthem set to the music of M. Verbytskyi, with words that are confirmed by the law adopted by no less than two-thirds of the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The description of the state symbols of Ukraine and the procedure for their use shall be established by the law adopted by no less than two-thirds of the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The capital of Ukraine is the City of Kyiv.