Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany. The Ukrainian representatives in Norway, the Czech Republic and Hungary as well as India also have to vacate their posts.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed his country’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk. This emerged from a decree published by the President’s Office in Kyiv on Saturday.
In addition to Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassadors to Norway, the Czech Republic, Hungary and India were also dismissed, according to the Presidential Office. Reasons or a future use of the diplomats were not initially mentioned.
Melnyk had made a name for himself as a harsh critic of the federal government. The 46-year-old was recently criticized for statements about the Ukrainian nationalist and anti-Semite Stepan Bandera.
The “Bild” and the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” had reported, citing Ukrainian sources, that Melnyk should be recalled and move to the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv. He could become Deputy Foreign Minister in the fall, wrote the “Bild”.
Andriy Melnyk: a highly controversial personality
Melnyk has been ambassador to Germany since January 2015 – an exceptionally long time for a diplomat in one post. Commentators in Kyiv also said on Saturday that this was about double the usual posting time.
In recent months, the diplomat has also caused a stir with his sharp criticism of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Among other things, he accused Scholz and his ministers of being too hesitant to deliver weapons to fight the Russian attackers in Ukraine.
Last week he himself came under massive criticism for his statements about the Ukrainian nationalist and anti-Semite Stepan Bandera. Bandera was the leader of the radical wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) during World War II. Nationalist partisans from western Ukraine were responsible for ethnically motivated expulsions in 1943, in which tens of thousands of Polish and Jewish civilians were murdered.
In an interview with journalist Tilo Jung, Melnyk denied that Bandera was a mass murderer of Jews and Poles. The nationalist was deliberately demonized by the Soviet Union. The Israeli embassy then accused the ambassador of “distorting historical facts, playing down the Holocaust and insulting those who were murdered by Bandera and his people”.
The otherwise quick-witted Melnyk then said nothing about it for days, but then responded to the allegations with a tweet on Tuesday. He also expressly addressed his words to the “dear Jewish fellow citizens”. Melnyk spoke of absurd allegations, which he firmly rejected. “Anyone who knows me knows: I have always condemned the Holocaust in the strongest possible terms.” The Nazi crimes of the Holocaust are a shared tragedy of Ukraine and Israel.