Russia measures will hurt, but that is a price we have to pay, Rutte says
The Netherlands is prepared to do more to pressure Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, prime minister Mark Rutte said in a statement in parliament on Monday.
This is not a time for division but for a cohesive national and international approach to the aggression, Rutte said. ‘Putin has done all he could to sow dissent, but he has achieved the opposite,’ Rutte said. ‘All democratic countries are united in their reaction.’
The measures which are being undertaken will have an impact on the world economy, on Dutch companies which export to Ukraine and Russia and on all of us now energy prices are likely to rise still further, Rutte said.
‘If that is the price of safety, then we must be prepared to pay that,’ he said. ‘And the cabinet will do all it can to lessen the economic impact.’
‘One thing is clear. Our security is our most valuable possession and the basis for our free and democratic society and we have to protect it, and defend it,’ Rutte said.
In addition, some Ukrainians will come to the Netherlands to escape the Russian threat ‘and I am convinced that the Netherlands will show solidarity with them,’ he said, referring to Sunday’s demonstrations in Amsterdam and other cities.
The Netherlands, he said, would work within Europe to make sure that everyone fleeing the fighting and seeking a place of safety would be helped.
D66 leader Sjoerd Sjoerdsma said during the debate that his party is prepared to consider everything necessary, including increasing the defence ministry budget. ‘In terms of defence, gas or EU cooperation, we need breakthroughs. There are no taboos,’ Sjoerdsma said.
Later in the debate, GroenLinks proposed excluding the two far right parties – PVV and Forum voor Democratie – from receiving confidential documents about the situation in Ukraine.
FvD leader Thierry Baudet has refused to condemn the invasion, describing the west’s response as a Mickey Mouse world, while the PVV is opposed to sanctions.
This means that both parties could pose a security risk, GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said. He also called for an investigation into the financial links between Dutch political parties and Russia.
Baudet was one of the main backers of the 2016 referendum on Ukraine and the EU, and according to current affairs show Zembla in 2020, has links to Russia, takes a soft line on Moscow, and has hinted at taking Russian money.
The Netherlands has agreed to send 40 Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons and 400 missiles to Ukraine on top of the 200 Stinger air defence systems and other equipment which have already been agreed.
The Netherlands is also looking into the possibility of contributing both Patriot weapon systems and troops to the new Nato battle group in Slovakia, together with Germany, defence minister Kasja Ollongren told MPs on Saturday.
The aim is to further strengthen Nato’s collective deterrent and defence function on the eastern flank of the region and reassure Nato allies in the region, Ollongren said.
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