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18 Nov, 2022 21:36

Scandal-plagued Ukrainian envoy gets new job

Kiev has elevated its notorious former ambassador to Berlin, Andrey Melnik, to the position of deputy foreign minister
Scandal-plagued Ukrainian envoy gets new job

Ukraine has promoted its former ambassador to Germany, Andrey Melnik, to the position of deputy foreign minister, a government official announced on Friday.

This is in spite of the former envoy's reputation for insulting politicians and officials in Berlin. He also sparked a scandal after defending Stepan Bandera – a controversial Ukrainian national hero who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II – in an interview with a German podcaster.

“The cabinet of ministers has appointed Andrey … Melnik to the post of the deputy foreign minister,” Taras Melnichuk, the government’s parliamentary spokesman, said in a Telegram post.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky sacked the controversial ambassador back in July, roughly a month after he defended Bandera and compared him to Robin Hood in an interview with podcaster Tilo Jung. His statements raised eyebrows in Germany, Poland and Israel at the time, prompting the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to intervene.

The loose-lipped diplomat was relatively inconspicuous before the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in late February but began grabbing headlines with his verbal attacks on the German government over its alleged reluctance to provide military aid to Ukraine. On one occasion, he branded German Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liverwurst” over the politician’s unwillingness to visit Kiev in the spring.

Despite his dismissal, the diplomat continued to fulfill the duties of an envoy until mid-October, when he left Germany. His sacking hardly affected his attitude, however, as he continued to insult German politicians and accused former chancellor Angela Merkel of having a “borderline obsession” with Russia. Berlin has never officially reacted to the former ambassador’s comments.