Ukranians & Russian

I’m just curious, what is the deal with Ukranians? Many claim to be native speakers of Russian as well. Is it similar to Catalan and Spanish, with some being native speakers in both? Is the language learnt from television or school or where?

I can’t say for sure, but I know two who grew up in Ukraine but mainly spoke Russian at home. Possibly like Wu/Min/Xiang/Hakka/Gan vs Mandarin (just guessing here).

“Since 1991, Ukrainian has been the official state language in Ukraine and the state administration implemented government policies to broaden the use of Ukrainian.”

“With time, most residents, including ethnic Russians, people of mixed origin, and Russian-speaking Ukrainians started to self-identify as Ukrainian nationals, even those who remained Russophone. The Russian language however still dominates the print media in most of Ukraine and private radio and TV broadcasting in the eastern, southern, and to a lesser degree central regions. The state-controlled broadcast media have become exclusively Ukrainian.”

Ukranian figure skating pair Volossozhar/Morozov in a kiss&cry corner speak Russian. I remember this season at Skate America watching highlights of their routine he asked her “Ты что рукой коснулась (льда)?” and she answered “Нет вроде бы”. And then she began to send her regards to her family, also in Russian.

Ah, so it sounds like Russian is widely spoken in Ukraine as a first language (at home etc.). I thought it was a second language (like English in Sweden, for example).

Don’t forget, before 1991 it was a single state, USSR. I’m sure 100% Ukraine citizen older 30 speaks Russian fluently, because Russian was their main school language, and native language too.
I’m not sure about the younger generation, but I think large percent of them speaks Russian very well, at least at eastern region of Ukraine.