I know that many of us still call it THE Ukraine. It's hard for those of us who have always said 'the Ukraine' to leave out the article. 'Ukraine' on its own sounds strange. On the BBC news there is still a mixture of articles and no articles. It is the Ukrainians who want us to drop the article.
I'm afraid that old people like me will never remember to say 'Ukraine.' To me it will always be 'the Ukraine.'
I have a Ukrainian friend who also prefers to have the article there. We have...THE USA, THE UK, and THE Ukraine. He thinks it makes the Ukraine (sorry, Ukraine) sound rather important.
I understand his point of view. I have always thought THE Netherlands sounds more important than Holland, but they are the same country!
What do others think?