(WBOY) – The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resurfaced a decades-old question: Is the country called “Ukraine” or “the Ukraine”?

Despite the common use of the articled version, the country’s name does not use the article. “The Ukraine” is a shortened version of “the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic,” and saying “the Ukraine” references a time that many Ukrainians would rather not reference.

Ukraine, not ‘The Ukraine’

In a report from TIME published in 2015, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine explained that “the Ukraine” was the way the Soviet Union referred to the area during Soviet rule. As an independent county, it is simply called “Ukraine.”

“It is incorrect to refer to the Ukraine, even though a lot of people do it,” explained former ambassador William Taylor in the TIME story. Using the article alongside the name of the country can be seen as denying Ukraine’s independence.

Ukraine declared itself independent from the Soviet Union in August of 1991, and the population of Ukraine voted for independence officially on Dec. 1, of that same year.

An issue of The Ukrainian Weekly newspaper from Dec. 8, 1991, featured the headline: ‘The “the” is gone,’ which reported an official change in how the Associated Press referred to Ukraine. “The AP wrote: ‘As a result of the passage of the independence referendum in Ukraine and moves toward international recognition of Ukraine as an independent county, The Associated Press will henceforth use ‘Ukraine’ instead of ‘USSR’ in datelines from Ukraine,'” the newspaper quoted. To align with the preferred name of the Ukrainian government, the newspaper also reported that AP would drop the proceeding “the” commonly used before Ukraine. Other news outlets followed suit.

Since then, some English media outlets have gotten criticized for using the incorrect article. In 2012, Ukraine was in the heat of media as the country prepared to host an international football festival, and many news outlets used “the Ukraine” as the country’s name, which sparked rage for some Ukrainian people. In a 2012 story from BBC, a representative of the Embassy of Ukraine in London explained, “‘The Ukraine’ is incorrect both grammatically and politically,” she said. “Ukraine is both the conventional short and long name of the country. This name is stated in the Ukrainian Declaration of Independence and Constitution.”

Some stipulate that “the Ukraine” became common speech because of its word origin. Other countries such as the Philippines and the Netherlands who also use the article have names derived from geological features. For example, the Philippines refers to the Philippine Islands, and the Netherlands means the “lowlands.” Similarly, Ukraine means “borderlands,” making the proceeding “the” make sense from an origin standpoint.

However, as Ukraine once again becomes a hot news topic, and more headlines include the country without the “the,” remember that “the Ukraine” isn’t a Mandela effect, it’s history that has changed.

For the latest news on the Russia and Ukraine conflict, check out NewsNation’s Ukraine Crisis.