Rishi Sunak is taking the same “militaristic line” as Boris Johnson and should be doing more to help bring about peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv, Russia’s ambassador to the UK has told Sky News.
Andrei Kelin also repeated claims from Russian President Vladimir Putin that between 25% and 30% of the weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western nations have been destroyed.
Their conversations often opened with Mr Zelenskyy reading out a “shopping list” of arms, three UK officials with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The UK has supplied weapons including multiple launch rocket systems, anti-ship missiles and armoured vehicles.
Asked by Sky’s Mark Austin whether he was glad Mr Johnson is no longer prime minister, Mr Kelin said: “Rishi Sunak is continuing a militaristic line. I have never heard from him the word ‘negotiations’.
“I never heard from him the word that the future belongs to European security, inclusive European security for all countries, not just for NATO. But for all countries.”
Mr Kelin was also asked about reports Russia has been using Iranian-supplied drones – with Sky News having seen a purported arms contract that offered the first hard evidence Tehran has sold ammunition to Moscow for its war in Ukraine.
The ambassador denied Russia has been receiving drones from Iran, and said he had never seen such a contract.
“No one has real evidence about Iranian drones. There were two meetings between Ukrainians and Iranians that we are aware of … Ukrainians were not able to provide any evidence those drones belong to Iran.”
Mr Kelin was also asked about the destruction of the dam in Nova Kakhovka that caused devastating flooding in the southern Ukrainian city.
Russia and Ukraine have since blamed each other for the collapse of the dam.
Mr Kelin said: “A year ago one of the major generals of Ukraine said that they are going to blow up the dam to prevent a Russian offensive.
“It was published in The Washington Post I think in December of last year.”
Asked about the $350bn (£274bn) in frozen assets it is thought the UK and the West plan to use to rebuild Ukraine, Mr Kelin said: “I know the United Kingdom is very experienced in the theft of money from different countries.
“India has been robbed and Egypt, other countries as well. So of course it’s another account of theft and robbery.”
Mr Kelin also said Russia is “prepared for talks or negotiations” but said Mr Zelenskyy has “prohibited himself by law to negotiate”.
“How can we negotiate?” he said.
Mr Kelin spoke to Sky News as Mr Putin said Russia’s new generation of Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads, would soon be deployed for combat duty.
In a speech to new graduates of military academies, the president stressed the importance of Russia’s “triad” of nuclear forces that can be launched from land, sea or air.