British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Wednesday that Kyiv's allies "want to see gratitude” from Ukraine for their support while recalling how he told Ukrainian officials during a visit to Kyiv in June of 2022 that the UK was not “Amazon,” the global retail site, when he was given a list of weapons demands.
“There is a slight word of caution here which is that, whether we like it or not, people want to see gratitude," Wallace told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, according to a transcript of his remarks sent to CNN by the UK’s defense ministry.
“I said to the Ukrainians last June, when I drove 11 hours to be given a list, I’m not Amazon,” he said.
Wallace said ally countries are helping Ukraine, not just for their sovereignty, but also for wider freedoms. He said Ukrainian officials sometimes need to persuade officials to authorize that aid, like lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the United States, for example.
"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," Wallace said. "And you will sometimes hear grumbles not from the administration in the American system, but you'll hear from lawmakers on the Hill: 'We've given $83 billion worth or whatever, you know, we're not Amazon,'" again referring to the online store.
Zelensky, in response to the defense secretary's comments, said, "We have always been very grateful to the United Kingdom, always grateful to the prime minister, or perhaps I should say prime ministers, and to the defense minister, Mr. Wallace."
"I just don't really understand what the issue is. We are grateful, Britain is our partner. Maybe the minister wants something special?" he added.