The Wichita bureau points me to a couple of Ukraine facts I haven't seen elsewhere. One, population is on the skids--down from about 52 million in the early 90s to under 46 million today. General mortality statistics look similar to Russia's with, notably, that absurd gap between males and females over 65--M/F ratio in Russia, 46 percent, Ukraine, 51 percent. Just eyeballing the chart, it looks to me like the Russian population may be falling faster than the rest--or at any rate, the areas of smallest decline (or absolute increase) are all in the far west.
Sources: here and here.
Item #2, it is suggested that the Crimea might be in water deficit. This sounds plausible but a desultory Google search doesn't turn up anything particularly helpful: this is really the best I could do, and I note that it is a few years old. I gather that Crimea gets its electricity from the mainland--any risk that somebody just pulls the plug?