When President Obama delivered a speech and mentioned the country of Ukraine, he learned an important lesson: the proper way to say the country’s name is “Ukraine”, not “the Ukraine”. Many journalists and officials have made the same mistake. As a former US ambassador to Ukraine explains, Russia used to refer to the area as “the Ukraine” when the Soviet Union was in charge. Now that Ukraine is its own country, there is no longer a “the” before the country’s name. Ukrainians take the blunder as an insult, and they find it very upsetting.
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