Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed five diplomats as “a normal part of diplomatic practice”

New Ukrainian representatives will be appointed to the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Norway and India.
It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired diplomats based in those countries, including his ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, according to a decree published by the presidential office.

The decree did not specify why or what they would do in the future.


“Today I signed decrees on the dismissal of some Ukrainian ambassadors,” Zelensky said.
“This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic practice. New representatives of Ukraine will be appointed to the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Norway and India. Candidates are being prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said in a video message.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Berlin did not comment on the decree.
“The Foreign Office has not yet been notified of the ambassador’s dismissal,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
Andrei Melnik became known for his repeated demands for more support from the German government in the form of heavier weapons as Russian attacks continued in the war launched by Moscow on 24 February.

Recently, the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany came under pressure for defending Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, who led a group responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Poles and Jews during World War II.


During an interview broadcast in Germany, Mr. Melnik said he disagreed with the “Russian narrative” about Mr. Bandera, stating that he “is not a mass murderer of Jews and Poles.”
The Israeli Embassy accused Mr. Melnik of “distorting historical facts, simplifying the Holocaust and insulting those who were killed by Bandera and his people.”
Mr. Melnik did not respond at first, but later denied the accusation.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I have always condemned the Holocaust in the strongest possible terms,” he tweeted, calling the allegations “absurd.”

Mr. Melnik has served as ambassador to Germany since January 2015, longer than diplomats usually hold.


Commentators in Kyiv also noted that this was twice the normal posting time.
The deputy head of the German Federal Parliament, or Bundestag, Kathrin Göring-Eckardt paid her respects to Mr. Melnik after the news of his dismissal became known.

“Andriy Melnyk worked hard for his country. He is the unmistakable and tireless voice of a free Ukraine,” the politician said.

However, she stressed that she did not agree with Mr. Melnik regarding Mr. Bandera.
“Despite this, I personally wish him all the best in his future service and, above all, in his country,” said Ms Göring-Eckardt.

Some German media, including the Bild and Süddeutsche Zeitung newspapers, citing Ukrainian sources, reported that Melnyk would be transferred to the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv.