The British Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, participated this Tuesday in the NATO Public Forum held on the sidelines of the Alliance summit in Vilnius. There, Wallace assured that among the allies there was “total acceptance” of Ukraine’s eventual entry into the Alliance and that it was more about “when”. Wallace assured that he understood the impatience of the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyabout “the ‘I want a timetable,’ but ultimately, culturally, it is accepted that Ukraine will join NATO.
Wallace thus echoed Zelensky’s discomfort on Tuesday, before flying to Lithuania, who said it was “unheard of and absurd” that the Alliance did not issue a formal invitation to Ukraine or present a road map.
However, the Defense Minister later made statements that made headlines in the British press. According to Wallace, the Americans warned the Ukrainian president yesterday that “they are not Amazon.” He even moved it himself in June 2022. “I told the Ukrainians last year, when I drove 11 hours to Kyiv to get a list (with requests), that I am not Amazon.”
When the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, was asked about it during his press conference defended the Ukrainian leader. The “premier” assured that “President Zelensky has expressed his gratitude to the British on a large number of occasions.” Sunak recalled his emotional speech “to the British Parliament at the beginning of the year and to me personally all the times we have met.” “He is enormously grateful,” he settled. Sunak further expressed that Ukrainians in his country fight for their lives and freedom every day and pay a terrible price for it. “I understand that Volodimir will do everything possible to protect the people from him and end this war and we will give him all the support he needs.”
Later, in the last press conference offered by Zelenski himself, the president assured that “he did not understand what Minister Wallace was referring to.” “We have always been grateful to the British and their Prime Ministers. British citizens have always supported us.”
“I didn’t know what he meant and how else to express my words of gratitude,” the Ukrainian president told reporters in Vilnius. In a sarcastic tone, Zelenski indicated that “we could get up in the morning and express our words of gratitude personally to the minister. We are grateful to the United Kingdom.”