Difference between Kyiv and Kiev

The Difference Between Kyiv and Kiev

Are you confused by the spelling of Ukraine’s capital city? Sometimes you’ll see it spelled “Kiev” (pronounced in two distinct syllables: key-ev) and other times “Kyiv” (pronounced keev).

The following short videos explain the difference.

So in short, because Russia exerted influence for so long over Ukraine (it was after all a part of the U.S.S.R.), the Western world adopted the Russian way of saying Ukraine’s capital city (Kiev) whereas, in the Ukrainian language, the city name is pronounced a little differently (Kyiv).

This may not seem like such a big issue for Westerners, but to Ukrainians who are fiercely patriotic, it really matters. It shows respect to Ukraine to get it right and Ukrainians really appreciate the effort.

So now you know the difference!

"Kyiv is a bilingual capital, something unusual in Europe and unthinkable in Russia and the United States."
-- Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America

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