Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk upsets Poles

Ukraine's ambassador to Berlin Andrij Melnyk has provoked angry reactions after denying in an interview that the nationalist Ukrainian partisan leader Stepan Bandera was involved in massacres of Jews and Poles during the Second World War. The Kyiv Foreign Ministry clearly distanced itself from the remarks, saying that Melnyk had expressed his personal opinion. Nevertheless, there is widespread indignation, especially in Warsaw.

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Sabotaging Warsaw's solidarity

The trust that has been laboriously built up between Poland and Ukraine is at risk, Rzeczpospolita fears:

“After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, controversial historical issues were set aside so that they no longer burdened the relations between our two nations. That's why the words of this well-known and experienced diplomat have caused such shock and indignation. ... Melnyk's words can't simply be erased. He has compromised Ukraine at a time when it is suffering defeats on the front lines and is under increasing pressure from a weary West to end the war.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Historical excursions on thin ice

Melnyk's account is historically untenable, the taz explains:

“Bandera actively contributed to the fact that [Poles and Jews] were persecuted, expelled and murdered in the 1940s. Evidence for this can be found in any specialised library. ... Of course, Melnyk is right in saying that Russia uses Bandera as a bogeyman against the 'Nazis' allegedly ruling Ukraine. But these historical excursions that may meet with approval at home are anything but helpful in a war that Ukraine can only survive with support from outside. ... Melnyk's assertions point to the fact that the unbreakable friendship with Ukraine in this war of aggression is historically on thin ice.”