President Zelensky Removes Ambassador to UK, Sparking Tensions: Latest Updates on Ukraine-UK Relations

2023-07-21 10:32:07

The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelensky, removed his ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadim Pristaiko, a ‘key’ figure in relations between Kiev and London from his duties on Friday, according to a decree published on the presidential website.

The announcement did not give details of the decision, but the ambassador had recently been critical of the president, in relation to what he described as “sarcasm” towards British Defense Minister Ben Wallace.

File photo of British Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace during an interview with Archyde.com. | Photo: Archyde.com / Caroline Chia

The UK is a ‘key’ supplier of arms to Ukraine and has also been training its troops since Russia’s invasion of the former Soviet republic began in February last year. To this comment, Zelenski did not remain silent and in the framework of the same meeting he pointed out that his country had shown gratitude.

At a press conference, the head of state expressed: “we could get up every morning and convey our words of gratitude to the minister personally.” However, tempers began to grow more tense when during an interview with Sky News, the Ukrainian diplomat admitted that Zelensky had responded with “a hint of sarcasm” to Wallace.

The comment that upset Zelensky?

“I don’t think this sarcasm is healthy. We don’t have to show the Russians that we have (quarrels) with each other, they have to know that we are working together,” Pristaiko asserted, defending more “pleasant” relations with the British government.

Conference of the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, during a tour to ask for more weapons and the entrance to NATO. | Photo: Archyde.com/Stringer

“I would like to thank several states that have tightened sanctions against Russian entities (…). I thank the United States, Canada and the European Union. Hundreds of new sanctions targets have been successfully implemented. Russia and everyone who dares to help terrorists in this world must feel the increasing pressure,” he stated.

Ukrainian Minister of Culture resigns

On the other hand, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine announced his resignation due to disagreements on the mobilization of funds for projects in the midst of the war against Moscow.

“I took my resignation note to the prime minister tonight due to a series of disagreements over the importance of culture in wartime (…). During the war, both private and public funds for culture are no less important than drones, because culture is the shield of our identity and our borders,” said Oleksandr Tkachenko.

“People should feel that budget resources are used fairly and properly,” he said in his statement. “This applies to various areas, including culture. The museums, the cultural centers, the symbols, the television series… All this is important, but now there are other priorities, ”she added.

Crisis in the Ukrainian government more than a year after the war with Russia (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov / AFP) | Photo: AFP or licensors

Tkachenko recently defended on a radio program allocating $13 million to build a museum commemorating the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine.

“If someone says that the museum should not be built during the war, let them make other arguments other than that it is necessary to spend the money on reconstruction. There are funds,” the official said on Radio Liberty.

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