Kyiv or Kiev? | Why It’s So Important To Spell And Pronounce Ukraine’s Capital Correctly

Jayson Frascatore
4 min readFeb 24, 2022

The people of Ukraine are preparing for the impact of war with Russia. This war will undoubtedly be felt all around the world as energy and gas prices begin to skyrocket. The threat of a “full-scale invasion” into Ukraine was reportedly “imminent” as of the evening hours of February 23rd, 2022 on the East Coast of the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin had signaled that he was “ready to go,” and that Russian troops would invade at any moment. At exactly 5:00am in Ukraine — or 10:00pm Eastern in the US — Putin announced a military operation into Ukraine. Moments later, the country had only seen the begining of utter chaos.

As this unnecessary, bloody, and deadly war started by the Russian President unfolds, it is imperative that we as a society in the rest of the world are aware of the correct spelling and pronunciation of the capital of Ukraine. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Many may very likely think that the difference in spelling and pronounciation would be the least of our worries, but in fact, there are a few reasons why it matters.

Language Barrier
The capital of Ukraine is spelled with two different spellings. Some may have noticed this and have never thought anything about it. First, we must look at the Cyrillic alphabet version of the spelling before we jump into the Roman alphabet. If we spell the capital of Ukraine in the Cyrillic alphabet, it is spelled as Київ. In the direct romanization form, the spelling comes out as Kyiv. This way, it is pronounced “key-v”. Think of it as saying the English word “key” but with the letter V at the end.

However, in Russian, there is no use of the letter ї. Instead, the Cyrillic form is Киeв. Therefore, the romanization of the Russian version comes out as Kiev. This version of the spelling then comes out to be pronounced with two syllables. It is pronounced like the English word “key” once again but instead adding an “evv” at the end. It is pronounced “Key-ev.” Think of…

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Jayson Frascatore

I write about languages, politics, current events, and climate change | Curated 25x | Buy me coffee beans https://ko-fi.com/jaysonfras