Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fires ambassadors from 5 countries, including India and Germany
ON July 9 (local time), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired ambassadors in five countries, including India, Germany, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary. He added that new candidates were being prepared to fill the positions.
During his address to the nation, Zelensky said“Today I signed decrees on the dismissal of some ambassadors of Ukraine. This rotation is part of normal diplomatic practice. New representatives of Ukraine will be appointed in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary , Norway and India. Nominations are being prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There was no particular reason to remove any of the ambassadors from their respective posts. It is not clear whether the ambassadors would obtain new positions upon their return to Ukraine.
Former Ukrainian ambassador to India was ‘dissatisfied with India’
In February this year, a day after Russia announced military action against Ukraine, Igor Polikha, now a former ambassador to India, expressed his displeasure with India’s reaction. India said it was closely monitoring the situation. Notably, there were over 20,000 Indians, especially students, stuck in war-torn Ukraine.
He had said“I’m following all the reports from your ministry side and the last advice to your citizens in Ukraine was just don’t go out, don’t go to Kyiv, and the statement from your external affairs minister was that India is closely linked as events unfold. We are deeply unhappy with their positions. What does that mean? To follow closely or more closely? Now, 10 to 15 people are killed. When hundreds of thousands of people will be killed, what will happen?We are waiting, we are asking, we are pleading for the strong voice of India.
Police had urged India to convince Russian President Putin to stop the attack, suggesting there were only a few leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he could listen to.
Speaking to the Hindu, Polikha said he was neither surprised nor disappointed as he expected his unusually long tenure in India to end. He said: “After seven years as an ambassador of any country, it is normal to come home. I am a career diplomat. I will come back as soon as the official process is over.
Controversies around the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany
Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has also been in post for a long time. He was appointed in late 2014 and is well known for his outspokenness in interviews and on social media. Lately, he had called intellectuals and politicians opposed to sending arms to Ukraine appeasers.
Last week he stirred up a great controversial defending Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist leader and Nazi collaborator. Bandera was killed in 1959. Melnyk said, “Bandera was not a mass murderer of Jews and Poles”, and maintained that there was evidence of charges against him. His remarks sparked controversy not only in Germany but also in other countries, including Poland and Israel.
Following the controversy, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry distanced itself from Melnyk’s remarks and stated: “The opinion that the ambassador. Melnyk expressed in an interview with a German journalist is his own and does not reflect the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
In addition, there is ongoing tension between Ukraine and Germany over a turbine which belongs to Russia. It is currently undergoing maintenance in Canada and Germany wants Canada to return it to Russia. On the contrary, Ukraine is suing Canada for not responding to Germany’s request, because sending turbines to Russia would go against the sanctions imposed on Moscow. However, Canada made it clear on July 9 that it would return the turbine to Russia.
It should be noted that the turbine is intended to extract natural gas from the Russian energy giant Gazprom. The broken turbine caused a 40% drop in production in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline which is used to pump gas to Germany.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced military action against Ukraine. It has been more than five months since the war started. Over 20,000 Indians stranded in Ukraine have been rescued by the Indian government. While Russia is currently facing sanctions from Western countries, India has kept its neutral stance and called for peace between the two countries.