In Der Spiegel today:

Translated from German to English using Google Translate

Zelenskyi dismisses Ambassador Melnyk

Andriy Melnyk is no longer the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany. The Office of the President in Kyiv published a corresponding decree on Saturday afternoon. 

7/9/2022, 5:24 p.m

Andriy Melnyk, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany since 2015
 Photo: IMAGO/Chris Emil Janssen / IMAGO/Chris Emil Janssen

Andriy Melnyk is no longer the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany . President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed him on Saturday afternoon. A corresponding decree, Decree 479/2022   , was published on the Ukrainian President’s website.

Melnyk’s dismissal was expected at the beginning of the week . As was reported at the time, the Ukrainian government was planning to return Melnyk to Kiev . There he should go to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, it said. He could possibly become deputy foreign minister. The decree that has just been published does not mention this, only his dismissal.

The Ukrainian embassy in Berlin declined to comment on the decree. A spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office said on request: “The Federal Foreign Office has not yet been notified of the ambassador’s dismissal.”

Like Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassadors to India , the Czech RepublicNorway , Hungary , Nepal , the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladeshwere also recalled from their posts. For them, too, neither the reasons nor a possible future use were initially mentioned.

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Andriy Melnyk, who speaks fluent German, has been his country’s ambassador to Germany since 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.

He became widely known after Russia’s attack on Ukraine , when he vehemently demanded greater support for his country, including weapons, and repeatedly sharply accused the Germans of having double standards. Melnyk was repeatedly sharply criticized for his sometimes undiplomatic manner. A few days ago, SPIEGEL columnist Sabine Rennefanz said that Melnyk was “the wrong man in the wrong place . “

Stepan Bandera controversy

He was recently criticized for statements about the Ukrainian nationalist and anti-Semite Stepan Bandera. Melnyk had defended the nationalist leader Bandera and denied that Bandera was a mass murderer of Jews and Poles . The nationalist was deliberately demonized by the Soviet Union . Bandera is considered by many internationally to be a Nazi collaborator, and his role is controversial. Melnyk’s statements had caused resentment in Poland, for example, and the Israeli embassy also accused the ambassador of “distorting historical facts, playing down the Holocaust and insulting those who were murdered by Bandera and his people.” Eventually , the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry distanced itselffrom your own ambassador.

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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. “Everyone who knows me knows: I have always condemned the Holocaust in the strongest possible terms.” The Nazi crimes of the Holocaust are a tragedy shared by Ukraine and Israel.Recommended external content At this point you will find external content from Twitter that complements the article and is recommended by the editors. You can show and hide it with one click. 

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Criticism of Scholz – and apologies

Melnyk 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. When Scholz initially refused a trip to Ukraine, Melnyk called him an “offended liverwurst” . Scholz had previously said that President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s uninviting through Ukraine would stand in the way of his trip. Ex-Kremlin boss Dmitry Medvedev took it up and later mocked Scholz as a “liver sausage fan”when he actually traveled to Ukraine.

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“That’s a statement that I later regret, of course,” Melnyk said after Scholz’s trip to Kiev in a SPIEGEL top- level discussion : “I’ll apologize to him personally,” he added. The statement was “diplomatically inappropriate” and “offended many people, not only in Germany”.

Göring-Eckardt: Respect for Melnyk

Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt paid tribute to Melnyk after his dismissal became known. “Andriy Melnyk did all he could for his country. He is an unmistakable and tireless voice for a free Ukraine,” said the Green politician, but stressed that she did not agree with Melnyk when it came to Bandera. “Regardless of that, I wish him all the best for himself personally, for his future service and above all for his country.”

Melnyk had recently admitted errors in his communication. He could understand criticism of his person, he told the “Schwäbische Zeitung”  . »We are all human and we make mistakes. You also try to correct these mistakes and learn from them. In retrospect, I regret many of the emotional statements.” The Ukrainian Embassy in Berlin published the interview on its website   on Friday .

Referring to the Russian attack on his country, Melnyk said: »My job here in Germany as a diplomat is becoming political. Even if I don’t want that.« His task is »that people here in Germany understand what the bloodiest war on our continent since the Second World War means.« mgo/dpa/ReutersJoin the discussion

Translated from German to English using Google Translate

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