President Zelensky has dismissed his ambassador to the UK after he publicly criticised the Ukrainian president’s response to comments made by British defence minister Ben Wallace.

The decree announcing Vadym Prystaiko’s dismissal was published on the website of the Office of the President on Friday morning, but did not provide an explanation for the decision.

But it comes shortly after Prystakio commented on Zelesnky’s response to comments made at the recent NATO summit in Vilnius held on July 11-12, when Wallace expressed the view that Ukraine could be more proactive in expressing gratitude for the assistance provided by Western nations.

He mentioned an incident in 2022 when he travelled to Kyiv and was promptly presented with a list of necessary weapons.

"I told them, 'You know, we are not Amazon,'" the minister recalled. 

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In response to Wallace's statement, President Zelensky, speaking at a press conference during the summit, assured that Ukraine has always been thankful for the support received, including that from the UK.

“How else can we show our gratitude? We can wake up in the morning and thank the minister. Let him write to me and tell me how to thank him,he said.

 

On July 13, Prystaiko appeared on Sky News, expressing his concern over Zelensky's remarks, deeming them "unhealthy sarcasm."

“President Zelensky saying ‘each and every morning we’ll wake up and call Ben Wallace to thank him’ – I don’t think that kind of sarcasm is healthy, Prystaiko said. 

Kyiv Expects Invitation to Join NATO at Washington Summit – Zelensky’s Office Chief
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Kyiv Expects Invitation to Join NATO at Washington Summit – Zelensky’s Office Chief

Zelensky’s team believes that Ukraine’s invitation to NATO membership would send a strong message across the globe, giving Europe and the world a real chance to return to true security.

I don’t think we need to show the Russians there is something between us. We’re working together, Ben can call me and tell me anything he wants to.”

Certain high-ranking Ukrainian officials acknowledge that the ambassador, an experienced diplomat who had previously served as the country's foreign minister, was attempting to improve relations with the UK.

 

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Comments (7)

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Cedar
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President Zelensky feels he has a right to expect sufficient support from the West. Since February 2022, he has made it clear that Ukraine needed to dominate its skies, and have the capacity to resist the invasion with long range missiles. The West has denied the former & doles out the latter, so yes, Ukraine has them, but not in the quantities needed. Partly this is because defence capabilities in the West did not include a large stock of material suitable for trench warfare. But it is also equivocation.

The Budapest Memorandum & other promises entitled Ukraine to expect a firm war alliance. Instead, Ukrainian troops are forced to advance without air cover, & their capacity to attack the Crimean bridge is limited. The Vilnius summit did not produce the tangible guarantee Ukraine wanted. If the President occasionally loses his temper, who can blame him?

But unless there is more to the story than we know, it was a mistake to sack Ambassador Prystaiko. It makes the President look petulant and spiteful, and suggests a dictatorial attitude which equates criticism of a politician with disservice to the country.

Cedar
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Mr Prystaiko has been an excellent ambassador for Ukraine in the UK - calm, engaged, reasonable, persuasive, knowledgeable and likeable - and his withdrawal will disrupt Anglo-Ukrainian relationships. Surely a reprimand would have sufficed? The incident has given strength to those who say the war is just a local quarrel between two authoritarian leaders who will not tolerate even mild criticism. For those of us trying to maintain public support for Ukraine, it is a setback.

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Freddie
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The UK government needs to get its head straight promises where made when the Ukraine gave up its nukes. The we are not Amazon phrase was a unfortunate remark. You can't say on one hand we have your back and then complain about it. Zelensky has every right to be frustrated his people are dying everyday. So I would pissed off to about a remark. They still have a right to an opion there the one dying defending the gates of Europe.

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I support
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On one hand the UK is right and the Ukraine is right. It's a war no one wanted only Russia. Peaple are under stress. As to the Amazon remark well a better choose of words would have been better same as Zelensky. Better to move on. I mean the Ukraine is under attack people are dying everyday so we have no idea what the UK priminister promised in private. Should he show more gratitude I mean he has apart from kissing Europes boots. He has to manage relationships with many country's and help fight a war against a bunch of gangster assholes.Also help his people feed them keep the lights on stop corruption the list goes on. So perhaps the UKS defence minister would like to trade places. If your gonna back this war its gonna cost money.

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dfarning
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I am quickly losing faith in Zelensky's ability to manage Ukraine's current and future needs. No doubt he is an effective orator and fundraiser. However, he seems to be severely lacking in his ability to reduce corruption, manage the economy, or urge the domestic population toward the mutually beneficial goal of creating a stable nation.

It is time to put some additional strings on Ukrainian aid if Ukraine is unwilling to implement internal reform on its own. I suppose that is bound to happen when a tv actor is unwilling to look outside his circle of writers for expertise on how to run a country.

Arthur Turnbull
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@dfarning, That is certainly not the worst thing I have read from the St.Petersburg Troll Farm - but it is still not good enough. You must try harder comrade or you will find yourself on the frontline with a very rusty AK-47. Please remember to put some Sunflower seeds in your pocket, so that something positive may come from your miserable life.

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Paul Henry
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Wallace should have kept his mouth shut. Now he's leaving government anyway. It was a stupid remark.

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Peter
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The perspective of a president embroiled in a war for their country's survival and their people's lives is of course very different to that of western leaders. Never-the-less, Zelensky's generally superb diplomatic record is slightly dented by his approach here.

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Ciaran Tuomey
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I agree with the Ambassador the bottomless list of demands is beginning to annoy the West and a bit of gratitude would go a long way

Vicki taylor
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@Ciaran Tuomey, every time Ukraine’s military identifies what is needed to win , the west sends less. Then it becomes apparent that ukraine was right about what was needed. NATO has never fought a war without air dominance and they seemed to think sanctions would cause Russia to stop but it hasn’t worked. Leaders like Macron thought their clever words would work miracles that could avoid fighting. Faced with your soldiers running out of ammunition , you would ask for help too. Perhaps preparing lists seemed too assertive but it’s a war and he’s trying to be efficient.

MJ Roche
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@Vicki taylor,

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MJ Roche
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@Vicki taylor, well said. Your comment is one of the best I've read .

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