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24 Feb, 2024 21:47

Germany renames Kiev

Berlin will now abandon the established rendering of the city in its official documents
Germany renames Kiev

The German authorities have decided to switch from the traditional spelling of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, to a new variant requested by the Ukrainian government, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. The city previously known in German as ‘Kiew’ will now be written as ‘Kyjiw’, the ministry said in a series of statements on X (formerly Twitter).

The change has been entered in the register for official use, which sets out guidelines for government documents. The Foreign Ministry said it would gradually introduce the change.

The statement did not elaborate on the reasons for the change, only saying the spelling had been common practice for many entities.

The Japanese Defense Ministry made a similar decision in March 2022, about a month into the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. The move was made following a review of major media coverage, it said at the time.

The Ukrainian authorities have been campaigning for the spelling change since at least 2018. The US Board on Geographic Names (BGN) – which maintains uniform geographic name usage throughout the US government – introduced similar changes in June 2019 when it adopted ‘Kyiv’.

AP news agency followed suit two months after the BGN decision. Russia’s Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr), which is responsible for geographical naming standards, said at the time that it saw no need for any changes, adding that ‘Kiev’ is still the correct spelling under Russian law. The agency also said the Ukrainian authorities have not been cooperating with it since 2016.

Although some major British and American media outlets have also switched their spelling to ‘Kyiv’ in recent years, many outlets in other Western nations, including France and Spain, still use ‘Kiev’.