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Monday, February 6, 2023

The New Government Wants to Send the Ambassador to Kyiv Who Deserted From There and Left Behind Chaos

By: Ana Horvat

“They cannot recall me because I have a contract until the 31st of May, which is when it expires and when I will also return to Slovenia. I have a fixed-term contract for two months; they cannot recall me, my contract will simply expire, and that will be all,” said Boštjan Lesjak, the current Charge d’Affaires in Kyiv, when asked about the possibility of the new government recalling him. So far, there has been no official and confirmed information on who Robert Golob’s people will be, but certain names of people who are expected to be appointed to important positions have already appeared. Among other things, the government will allegedly also recall the current Charge d’Affaires Boštjan Lesjak from Ukraine and send the former Ambassador Tomaž Mencin back to Kyiv.

After Tomaž Mencin literally fled from the embassy in Ukraine, which was evident from the words of the current Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine, Bošjtan Lesjak, his return to Kyiv is expected in the near future. Namely, the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Ukraine, Tomaž Mencin, has been working in the city of Rzeszów, near the Polish-Ukrainian border, since the war started. Some were critical of Lesjak for going to Kyiv, but he was the only one who volunteered to go there and the person who “prepared the terrain” for Mencin now, so that he could return from where he had fled.

We went there to encourage others as well
“They cannot recall me because I have a contract until the 31st of May, which is when it expires and when I will also return to Slovenia. I have a fixed-term contract for two months; they cannot recall me, my contract will simply expire, and that will be all,” said Boštjan Lesjak, who was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then added that he has done what he was sent to do in Kyiv, and that after his contract expires, he will return to the Ministry of Defence, where he will continue with his work from before he left for Kyiv.

“I was not sent here permanently, but only for the period of re-establishing the embassy, so we could play our part and also encourage the other parties to return,” said Lesjak, who then went on to say that 39 countries have returned to Kyiv since. During his work in Kyiv, Lesjak established contacts with the Ukrainian authorities and the other embassies, where they mainly shared information on the security situation in different Ukrainian cities, and he also helped the other ambassadors return. “I did what I received guidance for.”
“As far as I know, Ambassador Mencin is on leave until the 3rd of June, and I know that they are preparing for his return, but I was not informed about it,” Lesjak said, adding that this was just unofficial information and that he expected the ambassador to return with security. Lesjak has had little contact with the ambassador, as they only talked about the most urgent matters, but he said that he felt as if Mencin was “a little offended.”

Mencin fled, leaving chaos behind
Lesjak also commented on the claim that many saw ambassador Mencin’s withdrawal from Kyiv as an “escape.” Lesjak believes that the best person to answer this question is the Minister of Defence, Matej Tonin, but according to unofficial information, Mencin and his team “just joined someone and left – to put it plainly, they deserted,” Lesjak put it in military terms. He said that he does not know the whole story but added that when he arrived in Kyiv, there was “nothing but chaos” at the Slovenian embassy, where everything was scattered and untidy, “they even left the flag hanging, and we all know that if you leave an embassy, you have to take all the state symbols off and take them with you, which is what the other embassies did.” Lesjak said that everyone was surprised by his arrival, as he arrived during the state of war, but he believed that “in addition to us, it was important to protect the property as well.” Lesjak further stated that he had established all conditions for members of the embassy to return and carry out their work from Kyiv.

“It is not enough to just go to operas, banquets and art performances, you also have to do something for your own safety, and we already warned that something should be done about the safety there during our mission in 2015-2019. We said that there should be a military attaché there, who would take care of security,” Lesjak said, who has also worked in Ukraine as an observer on a military mission.
“This is not about me; this is about the Republic of Slovenia, which I represent. I don’t care which government is in power, the Republic of Slovenia comes first. I am here in the service of the homeland, and if they tell me that I have to go to the Congo tomorrow, I will go to the Congo,” Boštjan Lesjak said, who is also a war veteran and lieutenant colonel in the Slovenian Army, who is dedicated to his work and protecting Slovenia.

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