Kiev vs Kyiv – What is Ukraine’s capital? How do you pronounce it?

For as long as many can remember, Ukraine’s capital had always been known as ‘Kiev,’ but that seems to have changed, particularly as the country makes global headlines after Russian military forces invaded it.

But now, the news wires are littered with stories of the crisis referring to the capital as ‘Kyiv’ and in some instances as ‘Kiev’ – and there’s an actually sound reason as to why. Much of it is linked to the history of the Eastern European city.

In addition, both names are also pronounced differently: Kyiv (KEEV) and Kiev (Key-EV)

Is it Kiev or Kyiv? What an expert says

According to Quartz, the difference between ‘Kyiv’ and ‘Kiev’ is the language from which the Ukrainian capital is translated from, but there is also a political tie to it.

‘Kiev’ is the Russian translation of the name, while ‘Kyiv’ is Ukrainian. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues calling it ‘Kiev,’ which comes as no surprise as he has refused to acknowledge its standing as a sovereign and believes it is a part of Russia.

Ukraine-Russia historian Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon said: “In 2019, Ukraine passed a law making Ukrainian the official language of the Ukrainian state and public communications. However, this does not mean Russian is outlawed, and many Ukrainians speak both languages. Thus, pronunciation of the English transliteration is important because one is the Russian name for the city and the other is the Ukrainian name.”

Russia launched an offensive in the early hours of Thursday, 24 February 2022, not long after President Vladimir Putin declared war and vowed to retaliate against anyone intervening in their invasion. Air and missile strikes were launched in cities and military bases in Ukraine before tanks rolled in across the country’s border, following weeks of escalating tensions, as Russia massed troops around Ukraine.

At least 137 people in Ukraine have been killed and more than 300 others injured.

ALSO READ: DIRCO: SA concerned about ‘ongoing tensions’ between Russia and Ukraine

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