Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sacked several of Kyiv’s top envoys abroad, including the country’s ambassador to Germany.
The leader announced the resignations of Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, India, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary, and said new candidates were being prepared for the positions.
“This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic exercise,” he said in a statement. It was not clear whether the envoys would receive new positions.
Zelensky urged his diplomats to rally international support and military aid for Ukraine as he tries to stop the February 24 Russian offensive.
Kyiv’s relations with Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies as well as Europe’s largest economy, are particularly sensitive.
Andrey Melnik, who was appointed as ambassador to Germany by Zelensky’s predecessor in late 2014, is well known among politicians and diplomats in Berlin.
The 46-year-old regularly engages in frank social media exchanges and has labeled politicians and intellectuals who oppose arming Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion.
He once accused German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of behaving like an “outraged liver sausage” when Scholz did not immediately accept the Ukrainian president’s invitation to visit Kyiv.
Kyiv and Berlin are currently confused about servicing a German made turbine in Canada.
Germany wants Ottawa to return turbines to Russian natural gas giant Gazprom to pump gas to Europe, but Kyiv has asked Canada to keep the turbines, saying the return would violate sanctions on Moscow.
Canada said on Saturday it would return the turbines.
The governor of the region said on Sunday that Russian rockets struck the eastern city of Chasiv Yar, destroying a five-story apartment building and killing at least six people.
Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kirilenko said more than 30 people could be trapped under the rubble.
He said on the Telegram messaging app that the rescue team had contacted the two people buried under the rubble.
The Donetsk region is one of two provinces along with Luhansk that make up the Donbass region, where separatist rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014. Last week, Russia captured the city of Lysichansk, the last major stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk. ,
Luhansk Governor Serhi Haidai said Russian forces were creating a “real hell” in the Donbass, despite assessments that they were taking an operational break.
Additional reports by agencies