Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired his ambassador to Romania, months after the envoy was summoned to the Romanian foreign ministry to explain the wording of a speech made by the Ukrainian president.
In a video address on January 22, Zelensky recalled the short-lived 1919 agreement known as the Unification Act, which was meant to establish a unified Ukrainian state at the end of World War I.
The English translation quoted the Ukrainian president as saying that the northern part of a region of the former Austro-Hungarian empire was „occupied” by Romania.
The use of the word „occupied” became headline news in Romania and the ambassador, Oleksandr Bankov, was summoned by the foreign ministry.
Bankov expressed „regret” over what he called the „incorrect translation” of Zelensky’s address.
Zelensky dismissed Bankov in a decree signed on Wednesday, Ukrainian outlet 112 reported.
Bankov will take up a position as state secretary in the Ukrainian foreign ministry in Kiev, heading a department tasked with implementing reforms in diplomacy and public administration in the ministry, sources told universul.net.
He was appointed ambassador to Romania in 2017. He started his career at the foreign ministry in 2006.
The unification of the territory with Romania under the name of Bukovina happened at the end of World War I.
But its northern half was annexed by the Soviet Union under a1939 Soviet-Nazi treaty known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the territory became part of Ukraine.
In a Facebook post in January, Bankov said Zelensky’s address was incorrectly translated, and pointed to the corrected version of the translation, where the word „occupied” was replaced with the word „taken.”
„I sincerely regret this unpleasant situation,” Bankov said, adding that „in the end, this is the result of an incorrect translation and baseless interpretations.”