Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk: "Not the position of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry"
Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa
Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has caused irritation in Poland with his renewed commitment to the controversial former nationalist leader Stepan Bandera (1909-1959).
After Melnyk once again defended Bandera in an interview, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry apparently felt compelled to comment.
"The opinion of the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, which he expressed in an interview with a German journalist, is his personal and does not reflect the position of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry," said the authority in English on Friday night written statement on their official website.
The comment by the spokesman for the Kiev Foreign Ministry expressly emphasizes the good relationship with Poland.
"We are convinced that relations between Ukraine and Poland are currently at their peak," it says.
One is grateful to Poland for the "unprecedented support in the fight against Russian aggression".
According to the Foreign Ministry, there are no "divisive problems" with Warsaw.
Bandera was the ideological leader of the radical wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).
Nationalist partisans from western Ukraine were responsible for ethnically motivated 1943 expulsions in which tens of thousands of Polish civilians were murdered.
Bandera fled to Germany after World War II, where he was murdered in 1959 by an agent of the Soviet secret service, the KGB.
»Will not tell you today that I distance myself from it«
In the interview with YouTuber Tilo Jung, Melnyk drew attention to Bandera's alleged massacres of Poles and Jews.
"There is no evidence that Bandera's troops murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews," Melnyk defended the nationalist.
According to Melnyk, the reports are stories from the Russian side.
Bandera was not a mass murderer of Jews and Poles.
Even the presentation of an ultra-nationalist and anti-Semitic slogan, which is said to go back to Bandera, could not change Melnyk's mind: "I will not tell you today that I am distancing myself from it".
Dealing with Bandera has been reflecting the rifts between Russia and Ukraine for years.
Ukrainian nationalists who fought for independence in the early 1930s and 1950s are still referred to in Russia as supporters of the "fascists."
In the Ukraine, on the other hand, partisans like Bandera are revered today.
Melnyk also became known in Germany for his criticism of the federal government's Ukraine policy.
He made headlines, for example, because he called Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) an "offended liverwurst".
In the SPIEGEL top-level talks, however, Melnyk withdrew the statement and announced that he wanted to apologize.
As ambassador, Melnyk reports to the Foreign Ministry.