Hoekstra: supporting Ukraine is a ‘moral duty’ and test of resolve
Foreign affairs minister Wopke Hoekstra has said western nations must keep up their support for Ukraine until the end of the war or their efforts will have been ‘for nothing’.
Speaking at Schiphol airport on his return from last week’s security conference in Munich, Hoekstra warned that the conflict would go on for years and would require ‘perseverance’ from Ukraine’s allies.
‘We’ve seen a readiness on the Russian side that is unimaginable for us to sacrifice the lives of young men who have to go to the front despite being poorly trained, poorly clothed and poorly fed,’ Hoekstra told AD.nl.
‘We have to prepare for a scenario where another 100,000 Russians are sent, and then another 100,000 and another 100,000.
‘We are dealing with a Russian aggressor who will not be swayed and is prepared to sacrifice the lives of their people. We are less than halfway there.’
He said supporting Ukraine was a ‘moral duty’ that would be seen by other countries as a test of the resolve of western nations.
‘This is being watched in Moscow, Beijing and Teheran,’ Hoekstra said. ‘The legacy of this war must be: “once bitten, twice shy”. You can’t stroll across the border of a sovereign nation and sow death and destruction with impunity.’
Hoekstra also acknowledged that the government faced a difficult task maintaining public support for a war that has driven up prices of food and fuel and triggered a rise in interest rates.
‘I understand very well that many Dutch people are saying: I fully support Ukraine, but I’m worried about the cost of groceries, the prices at the pumps and soaring energy bills.
‘Our job as a cabinet is to ease the pain, which is why we have brought in this huge support package. War or no war, we must always ensure that people can take the car to work or visit their families and that they can afford to buy essentials.’
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