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Odesa Policeman Calls Ukrainian 'Cow' Language

KYIV -- A Ukrainian police sergeant in the Black Sea port of Odesa may face punishment for "insulting the Ukrainian language," RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The Interior Ministry's press service said today that if a video posted on YouTube on January 22 is genuine, the sergeant -- whose surname was given as Shvets -- will be punished and his supervisors formally reprimanded for "failing to properly train the officer."

In the video, the policeman tells the driver of a car who demands to be addressed in Ukrainian that "I do not understand the cows' language." The driver asks him if he does not like Ukraine's state language. The police officer replies: "No, and I'm not going to ever love it."

Activists from the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc have called the policeman's answer "an insult to the state language and [an instance of] inciting interethnic hatred." They have demanded his immediate dismissal.

Although Ukrainian is the state language, Russian is widely spoken and predominates in eastern and southern Ukraine, where Odesa is located.

Read more in Ukrainian here