Yulia Mendel / Photo from UNIAN

A recent statement by Yulia Mendel, a spokesperson for President Volodymyr Zelensky, claiming the "Ukrainian" type of Russian language is part of the country's diversity, has sparked mixed reactions, while the Commissioner for the state language protection, Taras Kremen spoke up directly criticizing it.

The Ombudsman emphasized that, according to Article 10 of the Constitution, the only state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian, his press service reported.

Kremen recalled that just three weeks ago, Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing the Ukraine 30 Forum in Kyiv, said there is only one state language in Ukraine, which is Ukrainian, and that better conditions should be created for it.

"If we continue his words, the law on the language must be implemented, operating effectively. So, by the end of the year, as determined by the government's action strategy for 2021, there must be a state program for the development and mastery of the Ukrainian language. At the same time, today we hear the words of the president's press secretary. I have a simple question: who are we focusing on now?" Kremen is quoted as saying.

"I don't share such statements, and I believe they have no prospects. Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which turns 25 this year, determines that the only state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian," Kremen went on to say.

Read alsoEnglish should become second state language, after Ukrainian – NSDC secretaryThe ombudsman said that the language issue in Ukraine must be closed once and for all.

"We have the Law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language, there is an education system, and state authorities, which should contribute to the development and functioning of the Ukrainian language as state language. In the end, we have external threats that need to be taken into account," Kremen concluded.

Mendel's comment on language: Background

  • Speaking on the air of the Dom (Home) channel that primarily targets audiences in the occupied areas, said the "Ukrainian" type of Russian language is part of the country's cultural diversity.
  • Some politicians, she said, exploit the language issue for speculation and inciting conflict, she said.
  • She is convinced that the Ukrainian language must be protected, but "citizens must be protected as well."
  • "The Ukrainian language, like identity, is much more than just about confrontation with Russia. And this is our wealth that we're yet to grasp. And Russian, more precisely, 'Ukrainian' Russian, is part of our country's cultural diversity of our country," the press secretary said.
  • Mendel also said Russia doesn't own Russian language.
  • Earlier, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov took to social networks to promote the same idea – of the need to promote Russian language in Ukraine, noting that Russia doesn’t own it, and also suggesting it could be used for counterpropaganda purposes. Therefore Mendel's comment was seen by many as a certain political trend that was being born.