Mixed reactions as President Zelenskyy ‘fires’ Ukrainian ambassador in Portugal

Inna Ohnivets among five ambassadors dropped for “inefficient actions”

There have been mixed reactions in Portugal to the news this weekend that Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired five ambassadors, including Ukraine’s representative in this country Inna Ohnivets.

Some have queried the need to replace Ms Ohnivets now, after so many years in which she has been involved with Ukrainian nationals living in this country.

Others – particularly the association of Ukrainian refugees (UAPT) – have applauded the decision, saying they “never felt any support” from the embassy, or the ambassador, and had actually complained about this to President Zelenskyy himself.

According to various news sources, the president cited “inefficient actions” as justification for these dismissals.

In interview with SIC, Ms Ohnivets – appointed by Mr Zelenskyy’s predecessor Petro Poroshenko, and in place in Lisbon since 2015 – did her best to play down any whiff of bad feeling however, saying this was part of the ‘planned rotation’ of ambassadors, and in many ways, long overdue (ambassadors are usually in place for periods of three years).

Even so, it appears Ms Ohnivets only heard it was time to pack her bags two days before the presidential decree was made public.

Pavlo Sadokha, of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal, told SIC that in his opinion the outgoing ambassador was one of the best his association has had to deal with. His association “laments her departure at this time”, but is perfectly ready to work with Ms Ohnivets’ replacement, which Mr Sadokha has said will have to be a ‘patriot’ focused on taking Ukraine into membership of the European Union.

Also dismissed in the decrees signed by Volodymyr Zelenskyy were the ambassadors to Georgia, Iran, Slovakia and Libya.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com