Zelensky's recruitment sparks Polish anger

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Published 22 November 2022 at 08.02

Foreign. Andrij Melnyk, who drew attention for his statements about the genocide of up to 100,000 Poles, has been appointed Ukraine's deputy foreign minister. This makes Poland see red, reports Remix News.

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Andrzej Dera, adviser to Polish President Andrzej Duda, says Poland cannot “accept politicians who used the (Stepan) Bandera narrative in the public space”.

Stepan Bandera was an ultra-nationalist Ukrainian leader who collaborated with Nazi Germany. He led the organization OUN, which murdered 50,000–100,000 Polish civilians in Volhynia during World War II. The OAN's stated goal was to “exterminate” Poles, Russians and Jews.

Today, however, Bandera is more or less openly praised and idolized by high officials in Ukraine.

Andrij Melnyk, who has now been appointed deputy foreign minister, was previously Ukraine's ambassador to Germany. In June, he caused a stir when he described Stepan Bandera as a freedom fighter in an interview. He also denied that Bandera was guilty of any genocide and claimed that the Poles themselves were equally responsible for massacres of Ukrainians. He also claimed that it is only Russian disinformation that the OUN would have killed Jews.

Polish authorities describe Melnyk's new job as an insult to the victims of Volhynia and a slap in the face to Poland. Relations between the countries are already strained after what is believed to be a Ukrainian robot killed two people in a Polish village. Ukraine has continued to blame the attack on Russia despite all indications to the contrary.

Poland's Deputy Interior Minister Blazej Pobozy also criticizes the election of Andrij Melnyk. “It is a bad choice regardless of when it was made” and it will not strengthen Polish relations with Ukraine, he believes.

Parliament Deputy Speaker Piotr Zgorzelski calls the appointment a “stab in the heart of the relatives of the victims in Volhynia”.