Sacked Ukrainian ambassador lashes out at German official
Kiev’s former ambassador to Berlin, Andrey Melnik, has said his invitation to the president of Germany’s eastern state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, to visit Ukraine has been rescinded.
The envoy was fired from his post by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in early July after his statements caused several awkward situations between Kiev and Berlin.
Melnik’s latest comment followed Kretschmer’s interview with the broadcaster ZDF earlier this week, in which he said it was important to “freeze” the Ukraine conflict, and that a ceasefire and negotiations were needed. The politician also expressed regret that there had been “very little public debate” in Germany on the possibility of peace talks between Kiev and Moscow.
In a Twitter post on Sunday, Melnik reprimanded Kretschmer, saying: “with your absurd rhetoric about freezing the war, you are playing into Putin's hands and fueling Russia's aggression.”
“I invited you to Ukraine. This invitation has been canceled,” the former ambassador wrote, adding: “You are UNWANTED. Period.”
Melnik still describes himself as Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany on his Twitter profile, despite being out of the job for almost two months.
Over the past few months, Kretschmer has spoken of the need to “freeze” the fighting between Russia and Ukraine, arguing that Europe risks losing the economic strength needed to maintain security and remain competitive on the global stage.
After the leader of Saxony voiced his opinion in late July, Melnik told him via social media that “Ukrainians are in favor of you sticking your head in a freezer to freeze your hot Russia fantasies.”
During his time as ambassador, Melnik accused Berlin of being too slow in providing military assistance to Ukraine. He also made headlines after labeling German Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liver sausage” for his unwillingness to come to Kiev personally. The visit by Scholz eventually took place in mid-June.
In late June, Melnik defended Stepan Bandera – a controversial Ukrainian national hero, who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII – in an interview with German podcaster Tilo Jung.
The envoy claimed that Bandera was not implicated in the mass murder of Jews and Poles, comparing him to Robin Hood, who “is being revered by everyone” despite being someone who “didn’t act according to the law that was in force then.”
The statement raised eyebrows in Germany, Poland and Israel, with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry stepping in and clarifying that Melnik’s words reflected his own views, but not Kiev’s official stance.