Do Ukrainians speak Russian? Is it rude to speak Russian with Ukrainians?

I'm going to Ukraine next week (to Kiev and Lviv) and I was wondering... I come from Serbia and I'm fluent in Russian, so do Ukrainians speak Russian (expecially in Lviv, which is in the west of the country) and, more importantly, do Ukrainians find offensive for a foreign tourist to start a conversation in Russian with them?

2 Answers

  • 3 years ago

    It was required to learn for many years until recently and most of the adults probably do understand at least. A large portion of the country is ethnic Russian but unfortunately for you, they all live in the East and are trying to separate right now. It's not Ukrainians who are dying there, those civilians are mostly ethnic Russians or mixed. You need to realize that right now there is large nationalist movement in Ukraine and there are many idiots who may attack you for speaking Russian or even for being a Serb (Many Serbs are in Donbass on DNR's side) and some may hate you for being Orthodox. My friend was half Russian, half Ukrainian and lived in Lvov (Ukrainians call it Lviv) and he left because he did not feel comfortable staying. Ukraine itself has history of nationalist genocides, around WW2 UPA for example killed 200,000 Poles in what today is Western Ukraine and South Eastern Poland.

  • 3 years ago

    Many do speak Russian it was required in school for decades.

    Is their some reason you cannot ask someone if they speak a certain language.

    For a Ukrainian it would be courteous to ask.

    Ти розумієш російську?

    Would you in Serbia appreciate a tourist that asked.

    Да ли разумете руски језик?

    Some have issues with Russians there is war and many Ukrainians have been killed.

    Serbians of course would not be familiar with old grudges many have with former Yugoslavians.

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