Why did Zelenskyy dismiss Prystaiko from the post of ambassador to the UK?
Vadym Prystaiko is the closest and longest-standing ally of the President of Ukraine. Find out what role the former British ambassador has played all these years and why he was so suddenly removed from the international arena
On July 21, Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a decree dismissing Vadym Prystaiko, one of his closest associates, who had served as ambassador to the UK since 2020 and was Ukraine's permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
No specific reasons for the dismissal have been given, but Prystaiko recently made a controversial statement when he commented on the statements of the UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace about "not grateful enough Ukrainians." Thus, the former Ukrainian ambassador called Volodymyr Zelenskyy's response "unhealthy sarcasm" during his interview with the British Sky News channel.
Who is Vadym Prystaiko and why is he called Zelensky's closest ally?
Vadym Prystaiko began his political career as a consul in Sydney, then worked in the Foreign Policy Directorate of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and was a charge d'affaires in Canada and deputy head of the diplomatic mission in the United States.
In 2012, Prystaiko received his first post as ambassador to Canada, and in 2017-2019 he was Ukraine's ambassador to NATO. Later, he headed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.
It was at the end of 2019 that the former ambassador became one of Volodymyr Zelenskyy's key advisors on foreign policy issues. On July 20, 2020, he took up the post of Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Kingdom.
It should be noted that over the past two years, Vadym Prystaiko has made a significant contribution to strengthening relations between Ukraine and the UK. According to politician and military officer Oleksandr Pohrebyskyi, "Prystaiko was a key ambassador who did a lot to help the country."
Why was Prystaiko dismissed from his post as ambassador to the UK?
According to Suspilne correspondents, Prystaiko's dismissal came as a surprise to him. However, the ambassador's team does not know what Zelenskyy's decision was about.
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also reacted to the dismissal.
"It is sad to say goodbye to Vadym Prystaiko, who has been a great Ukrainian ambassador and friend to the United Kingdom. I hope he will soon reappear in another capacity!" - he wrote on his Twitter account.
At the same time, according to journalist Patrick Wintour of The Guardian, the dismissal of Ukraine's ambassador and the expected resignation of the current head of the UK Ministry of Defense, Ben Wallace, symbolize significant changes in relations between Ukraine and the United Kingdom. In addition, he called Prystaiko's criticism "unusual behavior for a diplomat" and noted that the former ambassador's statements have repeatedly caused heated debate among Ukrainians and in Europe. In particular, he called "Ukraine's counteroffensive not as successful as we wanted" and "emphasized the losses of the Ukrainian side in the war." Prystaiko also said in one of his interviews that Ukraine should "think twice before liberating Crimea."
So, it is obvious that recent events have affected relations between Kyiv and London, but it is too early to make any final predictions.
We remind you! The Ukrainian Armed Forces are making progress in almost all areas of the frontline, but the pace of the counteroffensive is slower than expected. We explained why the de-occupation of the territories requires more time and what the key problem of the Ukrainian troops is in our previous article.
Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville
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