Kyiv has been cautioned by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to show “gratitude” to allied countries who have kept Ukraine’s army equipped and in the fight.
Mr Wallace made the remarks in response to a question on whether the failure of the NATO summit in Vilnius to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request for a clear timeframe from entry would impact the morale of Ukrainian soldiers on the ground.
Mr Wallace made a point to tell the Ukrainian Government that the UK is not an “Amazon” delivery service for weapons when asked in an interview about NATO’s hesitancy to offer Ukraine a seat within the military alliance.
The Defence Secretary in response pointed out how Ukrainian requests for weapons from the UK and other NATO partners continue to ramp up.
He told Sky News: “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 is sometimes you’re persuading countries to give up their own stocks [of weapons] 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 you know that it’s worth it and it’s worthwhile and that they’re getting something for it.
“And whether you like that or not, that is just the reality of it.”
The Defence Secretary recalled responding to Ukrainians’ request for more arms in June last year by insisting the UK was not the online delivery service.
He said: “I said to the Ukrainians last year, when I drove 11 hours to [Kyiv to] be given a list – I said, I am not Amazon.”
Mr Wallace noted hearing similar “grumbles” from politicians in the US who told him: “We’ve given $83bn worth or whatever [and] you know, we’re not Amazon.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appears to have delivered a public rebuke of Mr Wallace over his comments.
Responding to the Defence Secretary’s comments, the Prime Minister said: “Not least in his incredibly moving address which he made to Parliament earlier this year, and he’s done so again to me as he has done countless of times when we’ve met him.
“So I know him and his people are incredibly grateful for the support the UK has shown, the welcome we’ve provided to many Ukrainian families and the leadership we’ve shown throughout this conflict,
“There’s a slight word of caution here which is, whether you like it or not people want to see gratitude.”