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Vadym Prystaiko, sacked as Ukrainian ambassador to the UK by Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine's ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko speaks during a prayer service at Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, in London, on July 8, 2023

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday dismissed the country's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, after he criticised the president's response to a row over British military aid.

Prystaiko slammed Zelenskyy's sarcastic response to suggestions from the UK's defence minister Ben Wallace that Ukraine should show more gratitude for arms supplies from its allies.

Zelenskyy signed a decree dismissing Prystaiko, published on the presidential website. It did not provide a reason.

Ukrainian President's office's statement dismissing Vadim Prystaiko Ukrainian President's office

The row began when Wallace told journalists at a NATO summit in Vilnius this month that Britain was not an Amazon delivery service for weapons to Ukraine and suggested Kyiv could express more "gratitude".

The UK is a major donor of weapons to Ukraine and also trains its troops.

Zelenskyy responded at a press conference at the summit, saying he did not know how else to make clear Ukraine's gratitude, adding: "We could wake up in the morning and express our words of gratitude to the minister personally."

The Ukrainian diplomat agreed with a suggestion from a Sky News interviewer that Zelenskyy responded with "a little bit of sarcasm" to Wallace.

"I don't believe that this sarcasm is healthy. We don't have to show the Russians that we have something between us, they have to know that we are working together," Prystaiko added, stressing the need to smooth over relations with the UK.

"If anything happens, Ben can call me and tell me everything he wants," the diplomat said.

Prystaiko is a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to the United Kingdom since July 2020. He was previously Ukraine's foreign minister from 2019 to 2020.

Posted on 21 Jul 2023 15:36 link