kraine could display more “gratitude” to countries supplying large amounts of weaponry to help its fight against Russia, the Defence Secretary has suggested.
On the final day of the Nato summit in Lithuania, Ben Wallace urged Volodymyr Zelensky to show more appreciation for military aid.
He said that last year after a long drive in the country, he was presented with a fresh wishlist of arms, prompting him to tell the Ukrainians: “I’m not Amazon”.
“Whether we like it or not, people want to see gratitude,” Mr Wallace said.
“You know, my counsel to the Ukrainians is sometimes you are persuading countries to give up their own stocks.
“Yes, your war is a noble war and we see it as you waging a war not just for yourselves but for 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 that they’re getting something for it. Whether you like it or not, that’s just the reality of it.”
Mr Wallace said Britain is not waiving in its support of Ukraine.
The UK has led the way in arming Ukraine, first with anti-tank weapons, then Challenger II tanks and now Storm Shadow long range missiles.
His words come after the Ukrainian president held private talks with Rishi Sunak at a Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday morning after hitting out at the lack of a timetable for Kyiv to become a member of the alliance.
Mr Zelensky hailed Britain for supplying Ukraine with long range missiles as the US came under pressure to also send these weapons.
After the meeting, Mr Zelensky said: “Third meeting and third success for Ukraine at the summit today. Defence, politics, our common security. We thanked for the weapons, in particular long-range weapons and strong support for Ukraine on the way to Nato. And we are preparing security guarantees for Ukraine on the way to Nato.”
Responding to the Defence Secretary’s comments Mr Sunak told a press conference in Vilnius: “I know President Zelensky has repeatedly expressed his gratitude to me and to the British people and indeed to other allies as well.
“He did it very movingly in Parliament in the UK earlier this year. He continues to be grateful for our support and our leadership, and the welcome that we’ve extended to many Ukrainian families. I think everyone can see that. That’s how he feels.”