Rishi Sunak delivered a strong rebuke to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s remarks on Ukraine today, asserting a different stance on the issue.
In response to Wallace’s comments criticizing Ukraine’s call for support and supplies, Rishi Sunak made it clear that Ukraine should not be expected to show excessive gratitude for Western assistance.
The Defence Secretary had suggested that Ukraine should not treat NATO members as a mere delivery service akin to Amazon.
Wallace stated, “Sometimes you would hear grumbles not from the administration in the American system, but you would hear them from lawmakers on the Hill… ‘We’ve given $83 billion worth or whatever, we are not Amazon.'”
Sunak, when asked about Wallace’s statements, highlighted President Zelensky’s expressions of gratitude for the support provided by the UK and its allies. He acknowledged Zelensky’s heartfelt address to Parliament earlier this year and reiterated the gratitude shown by the Ukrainian leader in their numerous meetings.
Sunak also acknowledged the challenges faced by the people of Ukraine, emphasizing that they are fighting for their lives and freedom every day. He expressed understanding for Zelensky’s determination to protect his people and bring an end to the ongoing conflict.
During his speech, Sunak underscored the importance of the UK’s support for Ukraine and its leadership role in the defence pact. He reaffirmed the UK’s stance that Ukraine’s future lies within NATO, describing recent developments as significant steps toward bringing Ukraine into the alliance.
The NATO summit was particularly eventful due to Finland’s recent accession, with Sweden expected to follow suit. Sunak stressed the collective strength that comes from having Ukraine as a NATO ally and highlighted the commitments made by NATO this week, including long-term security support for Ukraine.
However, Sunak cautioned that the additional support should not be seen as a substitute for NATO membership. He emphasized that this week’s developments have expedited Ukraine’s path to joining NATO, simplifying the application process and removing the need for a Membership Action Plan.
The Prime Minister reasserted Britain’s vital role within NATO, noting the country’s achievement of the 2 percent defence spending target and its consistent contributions to NATO missions.
He highlighted the presence of British troops in Estonia and Poland, RAF jets patrolling the eastern flank, and the Royal Navy’s significant maritime capabilities.
Furthermore, Sunak mentioned the deep partnerships the UK has forged, including collaborative efforts with Japan and Italy to develop a sixth-generation fighter through the Global Combat Air Programme.
He also highlighted the AUKUS partnership with Australia and the US to construct advanced nuclear-powered submarines.
The government’s response to Wallace’s comments and Sunak’s remarks at the NATO summit demonstrates the UK’s commitment to Ukraine and its aspirations to join NATO, underscoring the significance of the alliance in ensuring regional security and stability.