Former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk reveals whether his resignation was related to the Bandera scandal, in an interview with Radio NV on July 22.
“It is difficult for me to say for sure, since the decision is made by the leadership of the state and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine,” said Melnyk.
“You know that I have been in Germany for a long time. My return was planned. The fact that it coincided with these debates around Stepan Bandera is just a coincidence, I believe. It would still not be entirely appropriate to use the historical complexities and debates that we have in relations with many countries so that they play a decisive role in such decisions.”
Melnyk said he was preparing to return to Ukraine as a part of regular rotational process.
The former ambassador also thanked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his support and trust.
“Believe me, if it weren’t for the support, trust and card blanche from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian diplomacy in Germany would hardly have been able to achieve the results it can be proud of,” Melnyk assured. “Both in terms of weapons and economic support.”
In early July, a heated discussion began in the German media around the figure of Stepan Bandera after the ambassador explained in an interview with Jung&Naiv why in 2015 he laid flowers on the grave of Bandera, who was buried in Munich.
The German media were especially hurt by Melnyk's words that the Germans were trying to shift the blame for Nazi crimes during World War II, in particular in Volyn, to Bandera, who was arrested by the Nazis in early July 1941. Bandera remains one of the most controversial historical figures in Ukraine.
Many Ukrainians worship him as a fighter against Soviets, while scholars from Eastern and Western Europe criticize Ukraine for praising Bandera who, they say, had allegedly collaborated with the Nazi regime.
On July 9, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk.
The German tabloid Bild wrote that Melnyk could take a new position at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kyiv.
According to Bild, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine made this offer to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. They noted that Andriy Melnyk is highly valued in Kyiv for his work. Bild sources also believe that the ambassador's move from Berlin to Kyiv will not be perceived as a dismissal.
Andriy Melnyk became Ukraine's ambassador to Germany in December 2014, during the cadence of the fifth president, Petro Poroshenko. After the beginning of a full-scale Russian war against Ukraine, Melnyk sharply criticized the German government and Chancellor Olaf Scholz for delaying the supply of weapons to Ukraine.