Ben Wallace says his quip about Ukraine treating Nato as an ‘Amazon’ for arms was meant to be a ‘transactional’ relationship – after the Defense Secretary dramatically announced he was quitting politics
Ben Wallace has tried to clarify his warning to Ukraine against treating Nato as an ‘Amazon’ for arms – after dramatically announcing he was quitting politics.
The defense secretary griped that his controversial comments had been ‘misinterpreted’ as he pledged continued support for Kiev.
Instead he insisted that Volodymyr Zelensky was simply advised that the relationship had to be ‘partnership’ rather than ‘transactional’ to maintain public support in the West.
The feathering came in a series of tweets posted after Mr Wallace confirmed he was standing down from government during the next reshuffle – and would not stand again in the general election.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace griped that his controversial comments had been ‘misinterpreted’ as he vowed to continue supporting Kiev.
Mr Wallace insisted that Volodymyr had only suggested to Zelensky that the relationship needed to be a ‘partnership’ rather than a ‘transaction’ to maintain public support in the West.
Posting on Twitter last night in Ukrainian, Mr Wallace said his controversial comments had been ‘misinterpreted’ as he pledged to continue supporting Kiev.
Mr Wallace caused a storm at a NATO summit in Lithuania last week when he suggested Mr Zelenskiy should show more ‘appreciation’ for kit gifts, particularly in the US, to counter unease about the cost.
The Ukrainian president was surprised, insisting that Kiev was grateful and saying he did not understand the point Mr Wallace was trying to make.
Rishi Sunak also effectively denied the comments, despite the White House expressing similar sentiments.
Posting on Twitter in Ukrainian last night, Mr Wallace said: ‘My comments about how best to support Ukraine caused a lot of interest and were somewhat misrepresented.
‘For the record, as someone at the forefront of mobilizing support for Ukraine, I have discussed the challenges that may arise as we work toward the common goal of helping Ukraine get what it needs to defeat this illegal invasion.
‘I said that Ukraine sometimes needs to understand that many countries and some parliaments do not have as strong a support as Great Britain.’
He said his comments were not comments about the government, ‘more about citizens and parliamentarians’.
“We are fortunate that UK citizens and all parties in our Parliament support our efforts to provide Ukraine with the means it needs,” he said.
‘Our approval rating for supporting Ukraine is the highest in Europe – over 70 percent.
‘My comments were meant to reflect that it is important to remember not to talk to yourself, but to try to reach out to other citizens who still need to be trusted.’
Mr Wallace also addressed comments when he said UK online delivery service Amazon was not after handing over a wish list for military supplies.
He said, ‘Amazon commented last year that Britain’s relationship with Ukraine is not ‘transactional’ but more ‘partnership’.
‘I will personally continue to support Ukraine on its path as long as it takes, but national parliaments often require competition and Ukraine and the UK must encourage this strong support with truth and friendship.’
Mr Wallace, seen as a darling of the Conservative grassroots and praised for his response to the Russian invasion, surprised Westminster by announcing his retirement from politics.
US President Joe Biden wound up trying to prevent him from becoming NATO’s next secretary-general.
Mr. Sunak effectively denied Mr. Wallace’s comments, despite the White House expressing similar sentiments
Although his constituencies of Wyre and Preston North are being dissolved by boundary changes, Mr Wallace is understood to have turned down the chance to move to another safe seat.
Downing Street fears Mr Wallace will be part of a stampede of senior Tory figures leaving politics for the private sector rather than linger on the opposition backbenches.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘I’m not standing next time. I entered politics in the Scottish Parliament in 1999. That’s 24 years. I spent over seven years with three phones next to my bed.’
Mr. Wallace said he told Sunak of his plans to resign on June 16 and had hoped to make an announcement this summer, but his hand was forced by the leak.
He said he was in support of the government and would not leave early to trigger another by-election.
Share or comment on this article:
Read Full News Here