Ukraine's ambassador to India Igor Polikha was relieved of his post by President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, diplomatic sources confirmed to The Hindu. Mr. Polikha has been known as one of the most senior European diplomats with extensive experience in India's relations with eastern Europe.
Mr. Polikha informed that he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the announcement as it was expected given his unusually long tenure here. "After seven years as ambassador of any country, it is normal to return home. I am a career diplomat. I will return whenever the official process is completed," said Ambassador Polikha to The Hindu confirming that his tenure in India has ended.
Mr. Polikha's appointment to India as Kyiv's envoy was made soon after the Crimean campaign by the Russian forces began in 2014. On February 24 this year, when Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Mr. Polikha hit the headlines as he made an emotional appeal. "We are deeply dissatisfied by India's position. We are pleading for the strong voice of India in this case....Your Prime Minister Mr. Modi can address Mr. Putin, he can address our President," said Mr. Polikha in a dramatic press conference. He coordinated with the Indian side during the evacuation of Indian students from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv, and other Ukrainian cities.
During most of his ambassadorial tenure, India-Ukraine ties stayed steady with the expansion of military, industrial, agricultural and people-to-people relationships. He mediated through back channels to facilitate a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Zelensky on the sidelines of the COP26 summit in Glasgow last October. Ambassador Polikha began his diplomatic career as an official for the erstwhile Soviet Union and his first India posting was in 1989 as a diplomat in the embassy of the USSR.