August 16, 2019

Associated Press says: No more K-i-e-v


PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The Associated Press Stylebook on August 14 notified users of its style and usage guide that the name of the capital of Ukraine would now be spelled Kyiv, not Kiev.

In a tweet and a post on Facebook, the AP Stylebook wrote: “AP has changed its style for the capital of Ukraine to Kyiv, in line with the Ukrainian government’s preferred transliteration to English and increasing usage. Include a reference in stories to the former spelling of Kiev. The food dish remains chicken Kiev.”

Some historical footnotes on the Kyiv spelling:

  • On October 14, 1995, the Committee on Legal Terminology headed by the newly appointed justice minister of Ukraine, Serhii Holovatyi, adopted “Kyiv” as the official spelling that would henceforth be used in all legal and official acts of Ukraine, emphasizing that foreign-language spellings of place names in Ukraine should be based on the Ukrainian-language.
  • The U.S. Department of State reported that on October 3, 2006, the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) unanimously voted to change the BGN standard transliteration of the name of the Ukrainian capital to Kyiv. This decision affected the whole U.S. government. The State Department noted that “all State Department offices and operations are requested to immediately begin using the new spelling ‘Kyiv’ in all written communication. The American diplomatic post there will henceforth be called Embassy Kyiv.”
  • At the daily press briefing at the State Department on October 19, 2006, Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey explained that the spelling Kyiv “is more in keeping with how the Ukrainians themselves pronounce the name of their capital. It is also now in keeping with how a number of international organizations, including NATO and the U.N., are now spelling it.”
  • In 2006, while reporting on the new spelling, Kyiv, to be used by the U.S. government, the AP noted: “The Associated Press continues to spell the name of the capital Kiev.”