Zelenskyy sacks Ukraine's ambassador to the UK over weapons 'gratitude' row

21 July 2023, 11:34

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy sacks his country's ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko over aid 'gratitude' row
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy sacks his country's ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko over aid 'gratitude' row. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy sacked the country's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, after he criticised the president's response to a row over British military aid.

Prystaiko had criticised Zelenskyy's sarcastic response to suggestions from British defence secretary Ben Wallace that Ukraine should show more gratitude to its allies for for arms supplies.

Earlier this month Wallace told journalists at a Nato summit in Vilnius this month that Britain was not an Amazon delivery service for weapons to Ukraine and suggested Kyiv could express more "gratitude".

He said: "There is a slight word of caution here which is that, whether we like it or not, people want to see gratitude.

"My counsel to the Ukrainians... you're persuading countries to give up their own stocks. And yes the war is a noble war and yes we see it as you doing a war for not just yourself but our freedoms.

"But sometimes you've got to persuade lawmakers on the Hill in America. You've got to persuade doubting politicians in other countries that it's worth it and it's worthwhile and they're getting something for it."

Responding to Wallace's comments during a press conference at the summit, Zelenskyy said: "We could wake up in the morning and express our words of gratitude to the minister personally."

Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko has been sacked over 'gratitude' for weapons row
Ukrainian ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko has been sacked over 'gratitude' for weapons row. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he 'doesn't understand Ben Wallace's claim that Ukraine should be more 'grateful' to NATO

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The Ukrainian diplomat agreed with a suggestion from an interviewer that Zelensky responded with "a little bit of sarcasm" to Wallace.

"I don't believe that this sarcasm is healthy. We don't have to show the Russians that we have something between us, they have to know that we are working together,"

Stressing the need to smooth over relations with the UK, the diplomat added: "If anything anything happens, Ben can call me and tell me everything he wants."

Zelenskyy signed a decree dismissing Prystaiko, published on the presidential website. It did not provide a reason.

So far, the UK is the second biggest donor of weapons to Ukraine.

It has committed £4.6 billion in military assistance and British troops have been training thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.

Prystaiko is a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to the United Kingdom since July 2020. 

He became a prominent figure in London amid the UK's response to the war. Only last Thursday was he spotted in the royal box at Wimbledon..

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