The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany has slammed Chancellor Olaf Scholz for refusing to visit Kyiv following Russia's invasion.
Scholz made it clear on Monday that he would not be travelling to Ukraine anytime soon, just weeks after Kyiv allegedly refused to invite German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Ukraine's outspoken ambassador in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk, responded on Tuesday by calling Scholz's snub “not very statesmanlike".
Speaking to the DPA news agency, Melnyk said the Chancellor had acted like a "sulky liver sausage".
“This is about the most brutal war of extermination since the Nazi invasion of Ukraine, it’s not kindergarten,” he added.
Scholz had criticised Ukraine's refusal to welcome Steinmeier in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF late on Monday.
“It can’t work that a country that provides so much military aid, so much financial aid ... you then say that the president can’t come,” Scholz said.
A number of other European leaders -- including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Council President Charles Michel -- have visited Ukraine in recent weeks.
Scholz has traded barbs with Ukrainian officials in recent weeks over his stance on the Russian invasion.
But the SPD leader has denied responding hesitantly to the war, saying he has "always made quick decisions ... in a level-headed and prudent manner".
Last week, the German government did vote to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, despite critics arguing that the move risks the country being drawn into a conflict with Russia.
Meanwhile, Germany's conservative opposition leader Friedrich Merz travelled to Kyiv on Tuesday for meetings with Ukrainian officials and to see the destruction caused by the Russian army.
Speaking to reporters, Merz expressed his “full admiration” to the Ukrainian military for having halted the Russian advance at Irpin and pledged to help the town rebuild.
Merz later met with senior officials including Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
His visit to Kyiv comes days before two German regional elections in which his Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is hoping to retain power.