Poland has denounced the statements made by the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, about former nationalist leader Stepan Bandera (1909-1959).

"Such an opinion and such words are absolutely unacceptable," Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz told the Wirtualna Polska internet platform on Friday.

When asked whether Poland expected an apology from Melnyk, Przydacz said: "We are more interested in the position of the Ukrainian government than that of individuals." Since the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has distanced itself from Melnyk's statements, this is sufficient.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had described Melnyk's statements as his private opinion.

The ambassador himself did not want to comment on the cause.

An ambassador cannot comment on the statements of his own foreign ministry,

The Ukrainian foreign ministry had distanced itself from statements made by the ambassador in Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, about former nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.

"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," the agency said on Friday night on its official website With.

Melnyk also became known in Germany for his criticism of the federal government's Ukraine policy.

As ambassador, Melnyk reports to the Foreign Ministry.

In the statement, which was written in English, the Foreign Ministry also thanked Warsaw for the current "unprecedented help" in the war against Russia.

It literally says: "We are convinced that relations between Ukraine and Poland are currently at their peak."

In Poland, Melnyk's statements were met with criticism.

In an interview with the journalist Tilo Jung, the ambassador defended Bandera and said: "Bandera was not a mass murderer of Jews and Poles." There is no evidence of this.

Among other things, he pointed out that Stepan Bandera, whom he described as a “freedom fighter”, had been arrested by the Germans just under a week after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Born in 1909 in Galicia, now Poland*, Bandera was murdered in Munich in 1959 by a Soviet agent.

According to Melnyk, the character Banderas was deliberately demonized by the Soviet Union.

He accused German, Polish and Israeli historians of having played along.

"I'm against blaming all the crimes on Bandera," the diplomat said.

Jung had previously confronted Melnyk with a quote from a Ukrainian leaflet and the number of victims.

"There is no evidence that Bandera troops murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews," Melnyk said with conviction.

He also did not accept the accusation of collaboration with the Nazis.

"What does collaborative mean?

There were collaborators all over Europe - in France, in Belgium, in every state," Melnyk said of the cooperation of Ukrainian nationalists with Nazi Germany.

Bandera only tried to exploit the struggle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union for Ukrainian independence.

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.


* An earlier version of this report gave the wrong impression that Galicia belonged to Poland in 1909.

At that time there was no sovereign state of Poland.

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