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19 Oct, 2021 15:21

Miss Ukraine lashes out at critics angry at her for speaking Russian, beauty queen explains that she hasn’t learned Ukrainian

Miss Ukraine lashes out at critics angry at her for speaking Russian, beauty queen explains that she hasn’t learned Ukrainian

The newly crowned winner of Ukraine’s ‘Miss Universe’ competition has weighed into a row after facing fierce backlash from nationalists for being a native Russian speaker, amid a wave of restrictions imposed on the language.

Anna Neplyakh, the 27-year-old model who scooped the title at a ceremony on Friday, as well as picking up the Miss Audience Choice award, took to social media to defend herself after becoming the target of furious criticism. The model says she has received a torrent of negative comments this week for writing in Russian on her social media channels.

“Over the past day, I have received a million accusations that I write posts and speak Russian on my blog, where 90% of the audience is Russian,” she said in a video posted to Instagram. According to her, she communicates in her native tongue “because I do not know Ukrainian.” She switched to Kiev’s official language for the statement in an effort to placate activists.

Neplyakh also stated that she was raised in a Russian-speaking family in Dnipropetrovsk, where a large share of the population speaks Russian, and added that she believes she has the right “to express herself in the most convenient language.”

Since 2014, Ukraine’s post-Maidan leaders have imposed a series of successive measures designed to push the Russian language out of daily life, despite the fact that it is spoken natively by at least one in three people and almost all Ukrainians are able to communicate in it. Russian-language news sites and television stations have been targeted, while public service workers are forbidden to greet customers in Russian and can only switch at their clients’ request.

Also on rt.com Ukraine’s purge of its past ties to Moscow picks up pace as waiters face fines for saying ‘thank you’ in Russian

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