12 July 2023

UK and other allies ‘not Amazon’, Wallace tells Kyiv

12 July 2023

Both the US and the UK have told Ukraine that “we’re not Amazon”, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said, as he suggested that allies providing support to Kyiv also want “gratitude”.

Volodymyr Zelensky has made clear his frustrations at the reluctance of Nato members to agree a timetable for Ukraine to be admitted into the alliance.

Many Western allies, including the Biden administration and the UK Government, have been vocal backers of Ukraine.

The UK in particular has been at the forefront of Western states in sending weapons and defensive equipment to the war-torn country.

But Mr Wallace, who is attending the Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, appeared to suggest Mr Zelensky needed to be mindful about keeping “doubting politicians” in the US on-side, particularly with a presidential election coming up next year.

Mr Wallace said some allies providing defensive aid to Kyiv “want to see gratitude”.

He said the US and the UK have told Ukraine that “we’re not Amazon”, a reference to the online retail giant, after being handed requests for new weapons.

He told reporters: “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.

“Whether you like that or not, that is just the reality of it.”

Downing Street insisted Mr Zelensky had shown his gratitude for the UK’s support.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think you heard from President Zelensky repeatedly, and indeed just today, about his gratitude to the people of the United Kingdom for their support, for their generosity.”

He added: “We fully understand that the people of Ukraine, President Zelensky, are obviously fighting a war and face extremely difficult circumstances.

“The UK Government and UK people will be steadfast in supporting them.”

Following his meeting with Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, Mr Zelensky said he was “grateful to the Prime Minister and the United Kingdom for supporting Ukraine’s accession to Nato and for participating in providing Ukraine with effective security guarantees for the period prior to membership in the alliance”.

He added he was “particularly grateful to the UK” for hosting the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox