By using your logic, taking the Russian course in Duolingo, "Moscow" would be wrong. We would have to use the English transliteration of the Russian name "Moskva." Or the Polish "Varshava/Warszawa" in the Polish course, or the Czech "Praha" in the Czech course, Italian "Roma," German "Koeln," etc.
Kiev is and has always been the English NAME of the city, not a Russian transliteration. Just like Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Rome, Cologne, etc. are English NAMES of cities.
"Kyiv" has been forced down English throats since Ukraine gained independence after the U.S.S.R. ended. This is just like it would be if Moscow forced "Moskva" down English throats just because it's an English transliteration of a Russian name.
The original actual name of the city was Къıѥвъ /kɪjɛvə/ in the Old East Slavic language, which was long before the Russian and Ukrainian languages. That name is still closer to "Kiev" than to "Kyiv." It has always been Kiev, and/or Kiyev in English. Even in Ukrainian, the name declines to Києві, Києву, Києвом, etc., in the other noun cases--only the nominative case stays Київ.
That's a fair point. It's actually a curious idea, why is it that (in many languages) we don't simply have transliterations of place names but also have differing translations?
Then the issue is the name of the city in English. I don't understand why you're so defensive about changing English names to transliterations. If Japan were to announce that they'd prefer to be called Nippon, I'd have nothing against that. If the Netherlands asked people to stop calling them Holland, sure, why not? I'd actually rather call it Moskva than the ridiculous sounding Americanised Moss-cow.
It's clearly important to many Ukrainians that we change our English name to the Ukrainian transliteration, like Odesa instead of Odessa, or just like most people are now saying Ukraine instead of the Ukraine. Why wouldn't we respect that?
It's not that I'm defensive or against it. It's just that it's a misconception that the name Kiev is a transliteration of Russian. It's the actual English name of the city just as Moscow, Cologne, etc., are. My primary problem with "Kyiv" is that it's awkward to the English tongue whereas "Kiev" is just fine. The Ukrainian letter и in Київ is a sound that doesn't exist in English, so it's hard for an English-speaker to pronounce. Maybe we could change it to Kiyiv, then it would make more sense. Also, assuming that we do our best to pronounce it the Ukrainian way, the spelling "Kyiv" reads in English as "к'йив" or "кайив." It should be spelled Kyyiv or Kiyiv if it changes in English. A lot of Ukrainians are so anti-Russian these days that they blame the English name Kiev on Russia as well.
Should Serbia force the English world to rename their capital to Beograd?
The problem is also that in English there's no way to create an 'ы' sound in the name, which is how Kyiv is pronounced in Ukrainian: Кы-йив (Russian). So I guess Kyiv is as close as they could get but I agree with you that Kyyiv or Kiyiv would make more sense. Ultimately, if that's how they want the English name spelled, I've got no problem with it.
Yes, there are a lot of language tensions in Ukraine unfortunately, including some unreasonable patriotism (I have nothing against reasonable patriotism). I try to take an impartial approach - judging issues on their merit.
And I don't see it as a question of forcing anything down anyone's throat. If Serbia wants the world to call it Beograd, I'll be happy to call it Beograd. Just like Nippon, Moskva or the Netherlands in my post above. After all, they're the names of their countries and cities. Imagine if someone kept pronouncing your name in a stupid way and you asked them to pronounce it the way you want, what's wrong with that?
A good example of that is Washington. Ukrainians call it Вашингтон "vashynhton" because there is no /w/ or /ŋ/ in Ukrainian. Should we force the Ukrainian spelling to be "Уашінґтон" ("uashington") just to approximate English to Ukrainian transliteration? No, because the UKRAINIAN name for the city is Вашингтон. By the same token, the ENGLISH name of the city is Kiev!--not Kyiv or Kyyiv