BERLIN, July 4. /TASS/. Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik will leave office, return to Kiev and, probably, become Deputy Foreign Minister, the Bild reported Monday citing its sources.
Melnik is expected to leave Berlin this autumn.
"The [Foreign] Ministry made this proposal to Ukrainian President [Vladimir Zelensky]. Kiev holds Andrey Melnik in high regard for his work," a Ukrainian government representative said, according to the newspaper.
This decision was motivated by Melnik’s recent remarks regarding Stepan Bandera. At the same time, Kiev underscored that Melnik’s return to Kiev will not be perceived as retirement. The diplomat served as the envoy to Germany to eight years and even survived a change of presidency in Kiev, a rather uncommon development. Usually, envoys remain in office for four or maximum of six years.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry refrained from commenting on staff reshuffles. Melnik himself also refrained from commenting.
Earlier, Melnik said in an interview for German reporter Tilo Jung that reports of Banderites’ involvement in mass murder of Poles and Jews are lies and a "Russian narrative." After that, Poland accused Melnik of falsifying history; Polish and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers had a discussion on this issue. German Foreign Ministry said that German authorities took notice of Melnik’s remarks, but considers it his personal opinion. The Embassy of Israel in Germany also condemned Melnik’s remarks on Bandera and called it a diminution of the issue of the Holocaust.
Stepan Bandera was an ideologist of Ukrainian nationalism. During World War II, he collaborate with Nazi Germany and led the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, outlawed in Russia), known as the Banderites. Members of the organization murdered some 100,000 Poles, Czechs, and Jews in Western Ukraine. Thousands of Ukrainians, who refused to collaborate, were also viciously murdered. The Banderites fought against the Red Army during the war.