The United States Board on Geographic Names, or BGN, has changed its English spelling of Ukraine’s capital from Kiev to Kyiv, the Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S. announced in a statement on June 13.

The U.S. BGN is a federal body under the U.S. Secretary of the Interior that is tasked with deciding on the uniform standard of place names to be used by the U.S. Federal Government and its agencies.

“This decision is extremely important and gives impetus to also correct the official name of Ukraine’s capital outside of the United States,” the statement reads.

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The decision will come into force on June 17 and is already being welcomed by campaigners and lawmakers who have advocated for such a switch.

The Kiev spelling is transliterated from the Russian language, while Kyiv is transliterated from Ukrainian.


The embassy stated that the U.S. BGN had considered changing the English name in the database after receiving an appeal from Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States.

The Congressional Ukrainian Caucus of the U.S. Congress and the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America supported Chaly’s appeal, the embassy stated, adding that the board’s decision was unanimous.

The embassy says that the move is of great importance, as many international organizations, such as the International Air Transport Association, use the U.S. database of geographic names.

The board hasn’t published any statement regarding the Ukrainian capital name. However, according to the embassy, the decision will come into force on June 17.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has launched a social media campaign to try to persuade international media, organizations and companies to use “Kyiv” for Ukraine’s capital name instead of the traditional English spelling “Kiev” in October 2018.

Since the beginning of the campaign, many airports around the world have recognized the Kyiv not Kiev campaign and changed the spelling of Ukraine’s capital accordingly.

Apart from Kyiv, the ministry also requests that international media, organizations and companies use the Ukrainian names of other cities, like Kharkiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Lviv, and Ukraine, instead of “the Ukraine.”


Read the Kyiv Post Honest History Episode on why saying “the Ukraine” is more than a mistake.

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