Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described Russia’s latest moves in Ukraine as ‘extremely worrying’, as claims emerge the Netherlands is to join a 10,000-strong Nato mission to halt president Putin’s expansionism.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, Rutte said Russia is doing nothing to stabilise the situation in eastern Ukraine, where Russian troops are fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels.
Rutte also wants the European Commission to investigate the impact of European sanctions against Russia to date. He believes the economic consequences are considerable but that Russian president Vladimir Putin is ignoring them, news agency ANP reported.
‘The impact on Russia’s behaviour is not satisfactory,’ Rutte is quoted as saying. ‘Russia is continuing to destabilise eastern Ukraine. This is extremely serious and worrying.’
Meanwhile, the Financial Times claims the Netherlands is to join Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia and Norway in forming a 10,000-strong Nato-led rapid reaction force to try to top Russia redrawing its borders.
Sources have told the paper the team will include ground troops as well as air and sea support. Canada is also interested in taking part, the FT said. The force will be led by Britain.
The paper says British prime minister David Cameron will announce the plans for the force during the Nato summit on September 4-5 in Wales.
The Dutch defence ministry has not yet commented on the claims. The Telegraaf said on Sunday its sources in The Hague had also confirmed the report.
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