Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has fired several of Kyiv’s senior envoys abroad, including the country’s outspoken ambassador to Germany.
The leader announced the sacking of Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary and said new candidates were being readied for the positions.
“This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic practice,” he said in a statement. It was not clear if the envoys would be assigned new positions.
Mr Zelensky has urged his diplomats to drum up international support and military aid for Ukraine as it tries to fend off Russia’s 24 February invasion.
Kyiv’s relations with Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies and also Europe’s biggest economy, are particularly sensitive.
Andriy Melnyk, who was appointed by Mr Zelensky’s predecessor as ambassador to Germany in late 2014, is well known among politicians and diplomats in Berlin.
The 46-year-old regularly engages in outspoken social media exchanges and has branded politicians and intellectuals who oppose arming Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion as appeasers.
He once accused German chancellor Olaf Scholz of behaving like an “offended liver sausage” when Mr Scholz did not immediately accept an invitation by the Ukrainian president to visit Kyiv.
Kyiv and Berlin are currently at odds over a German-made turbine undergoing maintenance in Canada.
Germany wants Ottawa to return the turbine to Russian natural gas giant Gazprom to pump gas to Europe, but Kyiv had urged Canada to keep the turbine, saying a return would violate sanctions on Moscow.
Canada said on Saturday it would return the turbine.
Russian rockets hit the eastern Ukraine town of Chasiv Yar, destroying a five-storey apartment building and killing at least six people, the region’s governor said on Sunday.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said more than 30 people could be trapped in the rubble.
Rescuers have made contact with two people who are under the wreckage, he said on the Telegram messaging app.
The Donetsk region is one of two provinces along with Luhansk that make up the Donbas region, where separatist rebels have fought Ukrainian forces since 2014. Last week, Russia captured the city of Lysychansk, the last major stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk.
Russian forces are raising “true hell” in the Donbas, despite assessments they were taking an operational pause, Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said.
Additional reporting by agencies
Leave a Reply