Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Ukraine

Newsline: Russia declares Ukrainian diplomat persona non grata

Moscow has declared an employee of Ukraine’s Consulate General in St. Petersburg persona non grata in response to similar actions taken by Kyiv against a Russian diplomat, Russian news agency TASS has reported, quoting the Russian Foreign Ministry. “In response to a similar unfriendly and unmotivated move by Kyiv, the Russian side was forced to declare an employee of the Consulate General of Ukraine in St. Petersburg persona non grata on a reciprocal basis,” the ministry said. (https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-society/2759792-russia-declares-ukrainian-diplomat-persona-non-grata.html) On August 13, Ukraine’s SBU Security Service said it had exposed in Lviv region a local resident who was collecting intelligence for the Russian special services and passed it to a Russian intelligence officer who “worked” under the diplomatic cover of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Lviv. The SBU said that “for activities incompatible with the status of a consular officer, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry declared a spy diplomat persona non grata.” “He has already left the territory of Ukraine,” the SBU said.

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Newsline: US Embassy in Ukraine renews work after bomb scare

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has said it has resumed normal work after checking information that a bomb was placed in the building where it is located. (https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/us-embassy-in-ukraine-renews-work-after-bomb-scare.html) “The Embassy security team has completed its investigation into a reported bomb threat. At this time, the Embassy has resumed normal operations,” the Embassy said on Facebook on June 18.

Newsline: Ukrainian lawmakers want embassy moved to Jerusalem

Nearly one-fifth of Ukraine parliament members co-signed a draft resolution urging their new president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy there. Of the 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada, 86 signed on as co-authors of a bill submitted for a vote on May 24, the news site Ukraina reported. (https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/dozens-of-ukrainian-lawmakers-want-embassy-moved-to-jerusalem) Parliament calls on “the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to transfer the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Israel to its capital, the city of Jerusalem,” reads the explanatory note to the bill. The embassy is currently in Tel Aviv. A vote has not yet been scheduled for the measure, which will not be binding on the government if it passes. The Verkhovna Rada has seen several failed initiatives to have Ukraine follow the U.S. recognition in 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but the issue has never received the support of so many lawmakers.

Newsline: U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine Departing Early

The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is departing her position in May, two months ahead of schedule. A State Department spokesperson said in a statement e-mailed to RFE/RL on May 6 that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch “is concluding her 3-year diplomatic assignment in Kyiv in 2019 as planned.” “Her confirmed departure date in May aligns with the presidential transition in Ukraine,” which elected a new president last month, the spokesperson said. “The team at U.S. Embassy Kyiv, and in Washington, continues to work closely with the Ukrainian government and civil society to strengthen our partnership,” the spokesperson added. (https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-ambassador-to-ukraine-openly-criticized-by-top-ukrainian-prosecutor-departing-early/29924924.html) The statement did not provide further details. Sections of an e-mail shared with RFE/RL but not yet made public said Yovanovitch’s last day would be May 20, and a charge d’affaires — basically an embassy’s chief operating officer — would then be appointed long-term until a new ambassador is nominated and confirmed. Sworn in as ambassador to Kyiv in August 2016, Yovanovitch has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to help stabilize Ukraine’s shaky economy and push reforms to root out endemic corruption. Yovanovitch drew attention in early March when,weeks before Ukraine’s March 31 presidential election, she called on Kyiv to fire the country’s special anti-corruption prosecutor. The speech was notable not only for its timing but also its bluntness.

Newsline: Police open fire as vehicle rams Ukraine embassy car in London

Police in London opened fire outside the Ukrainian embassy on Apr. 13 after a man rammed his vehicle into the ambassador’s empty parked car at least twice before being arrested, officials said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-shooting/london-police-fire-shots-as-vehicle-rams-ukraine-ambassadors-car-embassy-idUSKCN1RP0EM) No one was hurt in the incident, which happened early on Saturday outside the embassy building in the affluent Holland Park area of west London, and it was not being treated as terrorism, police said in a statement. The embassy said in a statement that the ambassador’s empty official vehicle had been deliberately rammed as it sat parked in front of the building.

Newsline: Poland’s president sacks ambassador to Ukraine

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has dismissed Polish Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Piekło as of January 31, 2019. Piekło has been head of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Kyiv since 2016. According to Special Envoy of the President of Poland, Secretary of State at the President’s Chancellery Krzysztof Szczerski, the dismissal of the ambassador, which took place based on the motion submitted by Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, “has nothing to do with the assessment of Polish-Ukrainian relations.” “The rank of the Polish representation in Kyiv is planned to be increased. I hope the Ukrainian side will quickly accept a successor, and then this change will be smooth,” he said.

https://www.unian.info/politics/10384434-poland-s-president-sacks-ambassador-to-ukraine.html

Newsline: Israeli ambassador ‘shocked’ at Ukraine’s honoring of Nazi collaborator

In an unusual move, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine protested a local region’s honoring of a collaborator with Nazi Germany. Ambassador Joel Lion condemned the Lviv region’s decision to name 2019 the year of Stepan Bandera in a statement he published. Lion wrote that he is “shocked” by the recent decision. “I cannot understand how the glorification of those directly involved in horrible antisemitic crimes helps fight antisemitism and xenophobia,” he wrote. Lviv already has a large statue of Bandera, who collaborated for a time with Nazi forces that occupied what is now Ukraine and is believed to have commanded troops that killed thousands of Jews. Kiev and several other cities have streets named for him. Bandera was assassinated by a KGB agent in Munich in 1959.

https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/israeli-ambassador-shocked-at-ukraines-honoring-of-nazi-collaborator