As Liz Truss gormlessly posed for pictures beside the Ukrainian flag and the Union flag, Melinda Simmons, her ambassador in Kyiv, made the decision to stay at her post as she advised her fellow countrymen and women to leave the country for their own safety.
Her courage – reminiscent of Sir Laurie Bristow calmly processing visa applications in Kabul last summer as the Taliban moved in and Dominic Raab put the “do not disturb” sign up on his sun lounger in Crete – has rightly been praised.
Less acknowledged is her husband, Stephen Bevan, who remained loyally at her side in the embassy. Bevan is a journalist turned PR man who set up an outfit called Media Foresight five years ago, which specialises in “reputational risk”. He has also worked for Grayling PR, which is strong on “crisis communications”.
His wife had no need to avail herself of his services – she saw a dignity in silence – but Bevan was tweeting quite regularly, comparing Putin with Stalin for his crimes, while one missive rather coyly also commended the British ambassador “for staying put”.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is fonder than ever of the couple. It disgusted him that some western embassies – including the US, Canada and Australia – decided to move out early from Kyiv to Lviv or other cities in the west of the country.