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5 Sep, 2022 14:29

Ukrainian envoy apologizes for ‘kill Russians’ interview

The ambassador to Kazakhstan cited heightened emotions as the reason for an incendiary comment, according to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry
Ukrainian envoy apologizes for ‘kill Russians’ interview

The Ukrainian ambassador to Kazakhstan has apologized to his host nation after an interview, in which he justified killing “as many Russians as possible”, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Pyotr Vrublevsky’s apology was reported by a spokesman for the ministry, who described the remark as “unacceptable” and said a formal complaint had been issued to the Ukrainian diplomat.

“He apologized and stated that he was speaking while experiencing serious emotional tension, because there is a war in his home country,” the spokesman, Aibek Smadiyarov, said during a briefing, as cited by local media. He added that Vrublevsky was on a break from work at the moment.

The Ukrainian envoy sparked controversy after being interviewed by a local blogger last month. When asked about the situation in his country, he said:

“What can I say… We are trying to kill as many [Russians] as possible. The more Russians we kill now, the fewer our children will have to. That’s it.”

The remark elicited anger in Kazakhstan, which has a significant ethnic Russian minority. The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK), a presidential advisory body, accused Vrublevsky of hate speech and questioned his capacity to serve as a diplomat.

The Ukrainian diplomatic corps has included some controversial individuals over the years. In 2018, Kiev recalled its consul in Hamburg, Vasily Marushchinets, after he was accused of sharing anti-Semetic messages on social media. He was also photographed celebrating his 60th birthday with a cake featuring the title of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, according to leaked images.

The current Ukrainian envoy in Germany, Andrey Melnik, has also courted controversy on several occasions, including in late June, when he denied war crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalist forces during World War II, claiming there was no evidence for them. Kiev recalled the diplomat after the interview sparked an outcry from Israel and Poland, but Melnik remains acting ambassador.