Rutte pledges more cash for Ukrainian ammunition during visit

Mark Rutte and Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kharkiv. Photo: Sergey Kozlov EPA

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte was in the Ukraine city of Kharkiv on Friday, where he signed a security agreement with Volodymyr Zelenskyy and pledged an additional €150 million to buy ammunition.

The 10-year agreement was announced last week, and covers military support over a range of fields, as well as reconstruction on the ground once the fighting is over. 

The €150 million is in addition to the €100 million already pledged to a Czech initiative to tackle the Ukrainian army’s shortage of ammunition, Rutte said. “We have decided to go up to €250 million and would urge other countries to join the initiative,” he said. 

“Ukraine is now assured of our ongoing support and engagement: not only across the spectrum of defence cooperation, but also in the areas of reconstruction, sanctions and the fight for truth and justice,” Rutte said

“My visit today made it all the more clear to me that [Russian president Vladimir] Putin cannot be allowed to win this barbaric war. Ukraine must prevail. Humanity must prevail. Peace and justice must prevail.”

Rutte also had strong words for Putin, who said on Thursday if the west sent troops to Ukraine it could lead to nuclear war. 

“Putin knows what the reaction from the west would be if he so much as moves a finger towards a nuclear weapon,” Rutte is quoted as saying by broadcaster NOS. “He knows it, so he won’t act. So we don’t have to worry about it and we don’t have to let ourselves be intimidated by him.”

The visit is Rutte’s fifth to Ukraine since the war broke out two years ago. 

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