Andrij Melnyk: “I brought Berlin politics out of its lethargy”

Andriy Melnyk
Former Ukraine ambassador: “I made mistakes, but I brought Berlin politics out of its lethargy”

Andrij Melnyk: “My yardstick is what comes out in the end”

© Fabian Sommer/ / Picture Alliance

As the former ambassador of Ukraine in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk often caused irritation. Before the second anniversary of the invasion, he looks back, admits mistakes – and makes a rarely heard suggestion.

The former ambassador of Ukraine to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, admitted “many mistakes” during his work in Berlin. But he was proud to have brought Berlin politics “out of its lethargy” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine two years ago, as he told the Berlin “Tagesspiegel”. Today’s ambassador to Brazil also suggested that the Ukrainian allies should conduct “exploratory talks” with Moscow to confidentially explore under what conditions, for example, Russia would be willing to withdraw from the occupied territories.

Andrij Melnyk: “Was often portrayed as a crazy person”

Regarding his role in Berlin, Melnyk said: “I was often portrayed as a crazy person who always demanded something outrageous.” But he managed to initiate discussions, said Melnyk. “There is a world of difference between the help we receive today and that at the beginning of the war. I am proud of that.”

Melynk was Ukrainian ambassador to Germany from 2015 to 2022. He became known to the German public for his verbal abuse towards, among others, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).

Regarding his mistakes, Melnyk said: “I could perhaps have played my role less passionately from time to time so as not to offend some people.” He was in “a kind of emotional state of emergency.” “I wanted to reach as many Germans as possible to increase the pressure on the government. But I didn’t have time to think long.” He admitted that he once called Scholz an “insulted liverwurst” was “borderline”.

“Ukrainians will forever be grateful for this”

“My yardstick is what comes out in the end,” Melnyk added. “Who knows what Germany’s support would look like today without my undiplomatic demeanor.” But the fact is that the Germans are Ukraine’s second largest supporters today. “Ukrainians will forever be grateful to them for this.”

When asked about possible negotiations, Melnyk said: “In my personal opinion, it would at least be wise if our allies could discreetly explore in Moscow whether there is a real willingness to compromise.” Conducting exploratory discussions does not mean giving up your interests.

“It’s not about lazy compromises or about restoring a false calm on the world stage, but about leaving no stone unturned,” said Melnyk. “The Russians have done everything to destroy trust. From Ukraine’s point of view, it is impossible to forge a deal.” Nevertheless, partners should use their diplomacy.

Melnyk successor: “Need more material”

Melnyk’s successor Oleksij Makeiev also praised German support on the second anniversary of the start of the war. “If you look at what has been delivered from Germany to Ukraine in the last twelve to 16 months, it is significant. Germany has become the second most important supporter of my country,” he told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. The German partners also usually responded immediately to inquiries.

In order to stop the further advance of the Russian troops, more material is now needed. “Every withdrawal of Ukrainian soldiers from a Ukrainian city means that Russian troops have moved closer to NATO. To stop them, Ukraine urgently needs ammunition and anti-aircraft defense,” Makeiev told the newspaper.


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