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Mother-tongue issues divide Ukraine — poll

May 27, 2015, 15:42 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly stated that only Ukrainian will have the status of the nation's official language

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© EPA/TASS/ROMAN PILIPEY

KIEV, May 27. /TASS/. Language issues split Ukraine into east and west and a central region where sentiment in both "poles" is reflected, says a survey undertaken for international clients by Ukrainian company Rating.

Questions asked of 17,000 residents in regional centres excluding war-torn Donbas region's Donetsk and Luhansk found that in west Ukrainian cities, up to 97% of respondents named Ukrainian as their mother tongue, used in everyday life.

In Ternopil, western Ukraine’s fourth-largest city, none of those polled chose Russian as their mother tongue.

But a different picture emerged in east Ukraine, notes Internet's Vesti online. Between just 3% and 11% of residents of cities Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson used Ukrainian in daily discource, returns suggested.

Between 58% and 84% of locals named Russian as their mother tongue while an 11% to 30% range considered themselves bilingual.

In central regions, most people - from 40% to 51% according to location - use two languages, pollsters found, rating 32% in Kiev and 51% in Sumy speaking Russian.

Between 17% and 25% of locals responding in central region locations Kiev, Sumy, Kirovograd and Chernihiv were said to use the Ukrainian language.

Russian's status was one of the issues that split the country a year ago and triggered the conflict in Donbass that grew into large-scale civil war.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly stated that only Ukrainian will have the status of the nation's official language.

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