Putin is showing ‘total paranoia’, Dutch PM says as Ukraine crisis escalates

Vladimir Putin addresses the nation. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky EPA
Vladimir Putin addresses the nation. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky EPA

Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra has described Russia’s decision to recognise two separate territories in Ukraine is a ‘blatant violation of international law’ which will result in a firm response from the EU and Nato.

Hoekstra made the statement, which echoes that made by EU president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel, as Putin ordered troops into two regions in eastern Ukraine, after recognising them as independent states.

The troops, Putin said, would take part in peacekeeping activities in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk republics. Both regions are home to Russia-backed rebels who have been involved in fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea.

Prime minister Mark Rutte broke off an appearance on television chat show Jinek, where he was promoting his ‘back to normal’ message, to discuss the escalating crisis.

Putin, he said before leaving the studio, was showing ‘total paranoia’.

‘He describes the Kyiv government as a dictatorship, even though it is a relatively well functioning country, with a democratically elected government and free press,’ Rutte said. ‘And that is the opposite to Russia itself.’


The US has described Putin’s claim about Donetsk and Luhansk as ‘nonsense’ and said that Russia was creating the pretext for war. The White House will announce further measures against Russia on Tuesday and the EU has already pledged to impose sanctions.

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address to the nation on Monday night that Ukraine wanted peace but ‘will not give anything away to anyone’. Kyiv, he said, needed ‘clear and effective actions of support’ from its international partners.

Last week, the Dutch cabinet has agreed to supply 100 sniper rifles, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, 3,000 helmets, 2,000 bullet proof vests, and several weapon and mine detection systems to Ukraine.

The decision was taken following a request from Ukraine for military support and the items on the list are in line with EU rules for arms exports, Hoekstra said on Friday.

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