Let’s set the scene for this embarrassing event. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary for the UK, recommended that Ukraine express some thanks for the assistance it receives from the West.
And how did Zelensky respond? With a level of sarcasm. He sarcastically suggested waking up every morning and thanking Wallace for his supposed generosity. Well, Zelensky, that didn’t go over too well.
Kiev’s ambassador to London, Vadim Pristayko, didn’t hold back and said, “I do not believe that this sarcasm is healthy.” He criticised Zelensky saying it only highlighted the cracks in the supposedly united front between Ukraine and its Western backers. Ouch! Talk about a public dressing-down.
The ambassador, however, didn’t stop there. He continued by saying, “We do not have to show… Russians that there is… something between us. They have to know that we are working together,” Pristayko said, advocating a more discreet way of sorting out differences.
“If anything happens, Ben [Wallace] can call me and tell me everything he wants,” he said.
It appears that Pristayko respects the value of prudence. Instead of making sarcastic remarks, he advises working out disagreements in private. At least one person in the room is diplomatic.
This little spat between Zelensky and the American and British officials came on the heels of the Ukrainian president’s attack on NATO. Zelensky had the gall to demand a timeline for membership and accuse the US-led group of failing to treat Ukraine with the appropriate respect. Oh, boy! According to reports, the US administration was “furious” at his comments. Did you honestly think that would go unnoticed, Zelensky?
Wallace then adds his voice, reminding Zelensky that a little appreciation goes a long way. The diplomat added that its Western backers “are not Amazon.” He also mentioned complaints from some American officials, who told him Ukraine sometimes treated the US as an online retailer.
With his poorly timed sarcasm, Zelensky has obviously gone too far in terms of shamelessness. Even his own ambassador was forced to correct him for it. Zelensky appears to need a quick refresher in diplomacy and perhaps a lesson in gratitude. Because it rarely works out well to bite the hand that feeds you.