The government has changed the spelling of the Ukrainian capital in its official communications from ‘Kiew’ to the Ukrainian ‘Kyjiw’, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

The move followed a long-running campaign by the Ukrainian government in 2018, which lobbied for the use of transliterations that are closer to the Ukrainian spelling ‘Київ’ than the Russian ‘Киев’ as a matter of emancipation from the former Russian rulers.

The American government adopted the Ukrainian-promoted version in English (‘Kyiv’ rather than ‘Kiev’) shortly after, with mainstream Anglophone media, such as the BBC and the New York Times, also changing their spelling.

In light of this, the German ambassador to Ukraine questioned the continued use of the Russian spelling in Germany earlier this year.


The German Foreign Ministry has now responded by implementing the corresponding German change in its official communications, announcing on Saturday that it would switch from ‘Kiew’ to ‘Kyjiw’.

“We have implemented what was long overdue: the spelling of your capital in the Ukrainian language,” she said at a press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Odesa on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian foreign minister expressed his gratitude for the linguistic change.

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“We have fought for many years to ensure that Ukraine is not viewed through the Russian language,” said Kuleba. “I thank everyone fighting for historical justice – even in small details.”

The use of the Ukrainian language was repeatedly suppressed during Tsarist and Soviet rule over Ukraine. After attaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country started a policy of ‘Ukrainisation’, with the capital officially renamed ‘Kyiv’ from ‘Kiev’ in 1995.

Insufficient support on the battlefield


But while Kuleba thanked Baerbock for the new spelling policy, he was scathing in his criticism of Western support in more substantive areas such as military aid and international institutions.

The country’s armed forces are under increasing pressure as they suffer from a shortage of ammunition.

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“If all decisions on arms deliveries had been made and implemented quickly at the start of the war, then we would be in Luhansk today talking about a Europe stretching from Lisbon to Luhansk,” Kuleba told reporters.

Peace would only be achieved through increased arms deliveries, he claimed as he highlighted three required types of weapons: “Grenades, air defence and long-range missiles.”

In Germany, criticism of the provision of military aid has focused on Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was initially reluctant to give the green light to deliveries to Ukraine.


While Germany has since become the second largest donor of military aid in absolute terms, according to the Kiel Institute, the chancellor continues to resist the delivery of crucial German long-range missiles.

Even lawmakers from his coalition government urged Scholz on Thursday to provide “long-ranging weapon systems” in a resolution passed with overwhelming support from the government camp.

Negotiations to increase EU military aid through the European Peace Facility (EPF) have also stalled, with Germany and France reportedly trying to push through unilateral demands.

Despite the mounting pressure on himself, Scholz called on “Germany and Europe (…) to do more” in a recorded speech released on Saturday, vowing that “we will support Ukraine in its self-defence – as long as it takes”.

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