U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he told Ukraine officials “we’re not Amazon” after receiving a list of weapons the embattled nation wanted to continue fighting the ongoing Russian invasion that began in February 2022.
Wallace shared the story at Wednesday’s NATO summit in Lithuania, where he also said showing “gratitude” might be helpful. According to the BBC, Wallace was trying to make the point that Ukraine enjoys the support of NATO but needs to be more thoughtful in its diplomacy.
President Biden reportedly expressed similar frustrations last summer when, after announcing a $1 billion U.S. aid package for Ukraine, that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, immediately started to complain that all of his defense needs that weren’t being met. According to NBC News, Biden firmly told Zelensky the matter would be dealt with through proper military channels.
On Tuesday, Zelensky, also in Lithuania, expressed frustration that NATO showed “no readiness” to make Ukraine part of its 31-member alliance. That’s improbable while Ukraine and Russia are at war, but the 45-year-old leader is pushing for a timeline.
“Uncertainty is weakness,” Zelensky said.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said at Wednesday’s summit “the American people do deserve a degree of gratitude” for their support of Ukraine, as does the U.S. government and all allied nations supporting the battle against Russian aggression in eastern Europe.
NATO introduced a series of new military packages for Ukraine Tuesday, according to the BBC. Next month, a multinational coalition reportedly begins training Ukrainian pilots to fly US-made F-16 fighter jets in Romania.
Zelensky had repeatedly asked for help to “close the skies” to Russian bombardment.
The Ukrainian President said Wednesday he’d completed a “very good, powerful meeting” with Biden, whom he thanked for the discussion.
“We clearly see how to end this war with our common victory,” Zelensky tweeted. “Thank you, Mr. President!”
NATO countries have committed at least $80 billion in aide to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The U.S. accounts for $42 billion in security assistance.
© 2023 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.