The AfD politician Petr Bystron published a photomontage on Twitter addressed to the recalled ambassador Andriy Melnyk. The edited photo shows German politicians giving Melnyk a Nazi salute. Users expressed shock online, and Melnyk himself responded promptly.

In response to the recall of the Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Melnyk, Petr Bystron, the foreign policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, published a photomontage showing various politicians, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz and ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel, greeting Melnyk with a hit salute. The politician wrote about it: “German politicians wave goodbye!”

The photo montage from Tuesday afternoon had already been blocked by the short message service Twitter in the evening. Before the post was deleted, a heated discussion broke out in the comment column, with numerous users expressing their dismay at Bystron’s posting. Some even apologized to Melnyk for being “so uncomfortable and disgusting” as a German citizen, wrote one user. Melnyk, who was recalled over the weekend, also commented, writing: “I didn’t know you were THAT crazy. My goodness”.

Bystron then took the opportunity to react and replied: “Dear Mr. Melnyk, I have found you to be a man with a sense of humor who is good at dishing out. You’re not going to give the insulted liver sausage as a farewell, are you?” The AfD politician was alluding to a controversial statement by Melnyk. At the beginning of May, he had criticized Scholz’s preliminary no to a trip to Kyiv with the words: “Playing an insulted liver sausage doesn’t sound very statesmanlike.” Bystron had previously explained that Melnyk’s dismissal “should have happened much earlier”. because he had “repeatedly misspoken with German government officials”.

Bystron told the “Bild” newspaper that he didn’t understand the excitement surrounding the assembly. “People should stop interpreting the Hitler salute into every harmless wave!” is his explanation. And then: “I wish Mr. Ambassador Melnyk a safe journey home and look forward to further encounters with him.”