Back in the day when I was a kid in school we used to pronounce the capitol of Ukraine "Kiev". There was even a chicken dish called, well, Chicken Kiev. We also used to call Ukraine "The Ukraine". Times were weird, what can I tell you. When Russian president Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine all the sudden you started to hear the capitol of the country being pronounced "Keev". I'll be honest, I thought they were talking about a different city than Kiev. They weren't, and here's why we were all pronouncing Kyiv wrong the whole time.

IT'S KEEV NOT KIEV
The name Kiev is actually the way Russians pronounce Kyiv. It is also something that the Ukrainian people don't like at all and haven't for a very long time. The spelling of Kiev comes from the Cyrillic, or the alphabet Russia uses. Because Ukraine was part of the U.S.S.R. the pronunciation that the Soviets used was the one that became accepted. The Soviets also banned the use of the Ukrainian language so they could try and bind the Ukrainian people tighter to Russia. You can see from the fight they are putting up for their country, that isn't exactly working.

Facebook/NBC News
Facebook/NBC News
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WHY WAS IT 'THE UKRAINE'?
We did used to say 'The Ukraine' but that is incorrect and here's why. When Ukraine used to belong to the U.S.S.R. it was known as 'The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic'. Since it is no longer part of Russia, the 'the' isn't needed. It could also be because 'Ukraine' means 'borderland' so saying 'the borderland' would be grammatically correct but Ukrainians feel that if you call it 'The Ukraine' it is like saying they are still part of Russia.

YouTube/NBC News
YouTube/NBC News
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CONFUSING? A LITTLE
It might all be a little confusing but we need to get it right, not just because it is the right thing to do but because we wouldn't want our country or states being misidentified in the international press. Ukraine deserves our respect in their fight to maintain their independence and that means giving them the respect to call them by the name they choose.

15 Ways You Can Help People in Ukraine Right Now

As Americans watch events unfold in Ukraine, many wonder how they can help. Below is a list of organizations responding to the crisis in Ukraine along with information on how you can support their various missions.