Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly fired the country’s ambassador to the United Kingdom after he criticised him for his response to a row over British military aid.
Vadym Prystaiko had criticised Zelensky’s sarcastic response to suggestions from Defence Secretary Ben Wallace that Ukraine should show more gratitude for arms supplies from its allies.
Zelensky signed a decree dismissing Prystaiko, published on the presidential website. It did not provide a reason.
The row began when 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’.
The UK is the second largest donor of weapons to Ukraine, with the nation committing £ 4.6 billion in military assistance to the country so far. British troops have also been training thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
Zelensky responded at a press conference at the summit, saying he did not know how else to make clear Ukraine’s gratitude, adding: ‘We could wake up in the morning and express our words of gratitude to the minister personally.’
The Ukrainian diplomat agreed with a suggestion from a Sky News 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,’ Prystaiko added, stressing the need to smooth over relations with the UK.
‘If anything happens, Ben can call me and tell me everything he wants,’ the diplomat said.
Prystaiko is a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to the United Kingdom since July 2020.