Yulia Mendel has been working as the presidential press secretary since June 2019. The journalist won the competition, which was attended by about 4,000 people.
During this time, she accompanied Zelensky at international meetings, commented on political events, and then even launched her television show "Look from Bankova" (although later on the "Dom" TV channel, where the show aired, they said that she would be only one of the periodic guests)...
But not without incidents. We have compiled for you a selection of striking failures that took place during the challenging career path of Yulia Mendel.
Zelensky’s bodyguard (2019)
After her appointment to the post, Mendel got into a scandal with the virtuoso removal of journalists from the president, which would have been the envy of Kevin Costner himself from the film "The Bodyguard".
In September 2019, during a conversation on the YES forum, Yulia Mendel forcibly pulled away from President Zelensky the correspondent of Radio Liberty, Christopher Miller, who was trying to ask a question, and offered to "drink coffee."
The correspondent said that it was pointless and that the press secretary should not do that. To which the press secretary of the head of state answered him that it was for this that she was working here.
Also in September 2019, Mendel "attacked" the journalist of the Scheme program, Serhiy Andrushko, when he wanted to ask Zelensky a question about the investigation into the then head of the President's Office, Andriy Bogdan. Mendel pushed him away.
Ukraine's Zelenskiy is giving media interviews in NYC. But this is how his press team treats reporters in Kyiv. Watch as Zelenskiy's spox @IuliiaMendel grabs & shoves reporter Serhiy Andrushko of @RFERL/@cxemu. Mendel did this to me at YES forum after Zelenskiy agreed to answer Q pic.twitter.com/P97E6PppGe— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) September 26, 2019
Subsequently, she explained that she did not push, but “stopped”, because Andrushko had invaded Zelensky’s “personal space”, which is also his security zone.
Later, Yulia Zabelina, a journalist of the Left Bank and a correspondent for Apostrof, announced the obstruction by the press secretary.
Lithuania and Latvia
In November 2019, a spokeswoman called Lithuania Latvia and then said that she had "trolled" Instagram followers in this way.
She published a photo with the caption: "Dress for a Latvian business trip." However, then Zelensky visited Lithuania, where he met with the leader of this country, Gitanas Nauseda.
After that, Mendel edited the post and assured that during her tenure, she "did not confuse any geographic name."
In January 2020, the presidential press service on Twitter made a funny typo, because of which Canadians and Ukrainians commented on the post for an hour, telling what the country was actually called.
In a post to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Zelensky thanked for his support in the investigation of the plane crash in Iran. However, gratitude was expressed not by Canada, but by Cаnadia. After a previous incident of Mendel's ignorance of geography, the post went viral.
Saved Ukraine with a couple of tweets
In December 2020, Yulia Mendel said that her two Twitter posts helped strengthen the hryvnia and saved Ukraine.
In an online meeting hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, she said that prior to her appointment and before Volodymyr Zelenskiy's trip to Brussels, Europe had said that Zelensky was a pro-Russian president, backed by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.
“I remember when I was at the first talks with the president, he said that in the story with PrivatBank he would be on the side of the people and that Ukraine would run to the EU. I managed to give these two tweets very quickly. They were picked up by almost all foreign media. I remember that at that time our inflation was growing a little, which was not colossal, but the hryvnia weakened, and after these two tweets, the hryvnia stabilized again to its previous level. This was the moment when you realize that 280 digits can affect inflation in the country," said Mendel.
Quarrel with economist Aslund
In March 2021, Mendel got into a Twitter squabble with economist Anders Aslund.
An employee of the Atlantic Council in Washington questioned Mendel's words that the head of state was "ready to challenge the Ukrainian oligarchs."
Mendel responded by accusing Aslund of spreading misinformation, and also questioned his professionalism.
"Mr. Aslund, I am very disappointed that you were so strongly influenced by too old narratives of disinformation. I hoped you were speaking from quality analytics, not just because you were fired," Mendel said.
Aslund asked for clarification on what exactly is meant by "disinformation narratives" and asked to apologize if the president's press secretary could not give an example of Zelensky's statements about Kolomoisky, to which Mendel briefly replied:
"The answer is that you are fighting words. Ukraine prefers action," Zelensky's spokeswoman wrote.
After this message, Mendel no longer replied to the economist.
Scandal with the phrase about "Ukrainian Russian"
In early April 2020, Mendel said that the Russian language is the cultural heritage of Ukraine, and Ukrainians need to "rise above the topic of language" for a long time.
"Russia is not a monopoly on the Russian language. And it is high time for us to demonopolize the Russian language ourselves and loudly declare that there is a Ukrainian Russian language in Ukraine," Mendel said.
The press secretary made this statement during the discussion of the law "On the functioning of the Ukrainian language."
Also in April, the British edition of The Spectator called the war in Ukraine "civil". This was noticed by the press secretary of the British Embassy in Ukraine Oleksiy Kurka and urged to send e-mails to the publication and ask to correct the error.
In the comments under this note, the press secretary of the President of Ukraine Yulia Mendel wrote: #NoCivilWar in Ukraine.
However, it was corrected by the politician Sergei Vysotsky: "Julia! No Civil War is" no civil war "! If you wanted to say" not civil war, "you should at least write Not Civil War." Another journalist quipped that Mendel's expression is "Ukrainian English."
Glasses on the neckline
On April 16, President Zelenskyy held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. After the talks, the head of state held a briefing on the results of the meeting. Not far from the President of Ukraine was Yulia Mendel, who made a mistake in the official dress code - she hung her glasses on the neckline of her blouse. This photo made stylists and social networks laugh.