May 14, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 14 days ago

Ukraine suspends consul in Germany for alleged anti-semitic posts

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian diplomat in Germany has been suspended and could be recalled, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Monday, following reports the consul had posted anti-Semitic content on social media.

Screenshots shared online claim to show Vasyl Marushchynets, who works at Ukraine’s consulate in Hamburg, blaming Jews for World War II and saying “death to the anti-fascists” on his private Facebook page.

Reuters was not able to verify the images. Marushchynets and the Hamburg consulate did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“Anti-semitism and those who stir up inter-ethnic discord can have no place either in civilised society or in the foreign ministry,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Twitter.

Asked what action the foreign ministry had taken in response to the reports about Marushchynets, ministry spokeswoman Mariana Betsa said a consul had been suspended.

“The question of recalling him is being considered,” she said by telephone without referring to anyone by name.

The German Foreign Ministry said it had been in touch with its Ukrainian counterpart to express its concern.

“We are looking at the anti-Semitic statements of the Ukrainian consul with concern. Such statements are totally unacceptable. We have clearly communicated this to the Ukrainian side,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

“It’s good that Ukrainian foreign minister Klimkin made it clear that anti-Semitism has no place at the Ukrainian Foreign ministry and that he will initiate proceedings.”

The episode is potentially embarrassing for the Ukrainian authorities, who are keen to counter allegations by the Kremlin and Russian media that far-right and extreme nationalist attitudes are prevalent in Ukraine.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Additional reporting by Riham Alkousaa in Berlin, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, editing by Ed Osmond

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