Following Russia’s decision to launch an all-out war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ukrainian diplomats have discarded traditional methods of diplomacy in favor of advocacy.
Among them is Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk, who has served as a source of inspiration not just for German media outlets, but for diplomats and academics, writes Melnyk’s wife Svitlana.
In a Facebook post, she pointed out how the German press highlighted the Ambassador’s efforts, with the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung writing an article titled “He did it for us.”
“Interestingly, the German Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock has placed special emphasis on the need to reinvent the approach to public communication. From now on, German Ambassadors must be conspicuous, react in a split second, and not be afraid of discussions, shitstorms or being undiplomatic,” she wrote, adding that Baerbock is keen on making communication the nucleus of German diplomacy.
Mrs. Melnyk added that, according to insider information, the graduates of the German diplomatic academy have been recently asked what they make of the unconventional methods of Ambassador Melnyk’s public diplomacy. “Apparently, the majority of future German diplomats fully support this unorthodox course!” she wrote, adding that Professor Cord Jakobeit of Hamburg University made a podcast about Ambassador Melnyk, dubbing him a pioneer of profoundly new diplomacy that the students will learn in the future.
Ambassador Melnyk is stepping down on Oct.14 after serving eight years in his position. He will be replaced by Oleksiy Makeyev, whose candidacy has already been approved by the German government.
The Kyiv Post had the opportunity to talk to Ambassador Melnyk in June at the Ukrainian Embassy in Berlin. The diplomat, who is known for his blunt and often provocative statements, has helped Ukraine secure weapon flows, including heavy weapons and state-of-the-art air-defense systems from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government.
We thank Ambassador Melnyk for his mammoth efforts and his unavailing stance, and wish him and his family all the best.
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