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Ukrainian mayor fined for using Russian language — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

Kharkov city leader accused of breaking the law by addressing his fellow citizens in a ‘non-state’ language

Kyiv has fined the mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkov, for using what authorities said was “non-state” language in an official TV address. Mayor Igor Terekhov is known to address his fellow citizens in Russian.

Terekhov will have to pay a fine of 3,400 hryvnas ($92) for violating Ukrainian law, Taras Kremin, Ukrainian government commissioner for state language protection, said in a statement on Thursday.

The mayor had “used non-state language in his addresses to the residents of the city of Kharkov” during a news telethon, the statement read, calling it a “administrative offence”. The Office of the Languages ​​Commissioner also issued an administrative warning to the mayor’s office, telling him to only use Ukrainian on the mayor’s social media pages.

Terekhov has until December 4 to appeal the commissioner’s decision, the statement said. Ukrainian authorities did not specify the language used by the mayor during the telethon, but Ukrainian media reported that he was known to regularly address his fellow citizens in Russian.

According to the language commissioner’s office, Terekhov and some members of the Kharkov city council have already been found guilty of violating the state language law. It is unclear if they were also sanctioned at the time.

The Ukrainian State Language Law was signed by then President Petro Poroshenko in 2019, five days before his presidential term expired. Legislation requires Ukrainian public officials to use only the Ukrainian language in the performance of their duties.

Ukrainians are also required to use the Ukrainian language in the fields of public services, medical care, education and science, as well as in the media, although certain exceptions are allowed. A person found guilty of violating this law can be fined up to 8,500 hryvnas ($230), which can be doubled in the event of a repeat offence.

In mid-June, the Languages ​​Commissioner was granted the right to impose fines on those who break the law. In October, an assistant professor at the Ukrainian National Aviation University was fined 3,400 hryvnas ($92) for teaching in a “non-state language”.

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