Thursday 30 June 2022

Wilders under fire from MH17 relatives over Russia trip

PVV leader Geert Wilders has been criticised by relatives of the people killed in the MH17 disaster for cosying up to Russia.

In particular, they have condemned his visit to the Russian Duma and his tweet showing off a badge featuring the Dutch and Russian flags.

‘Emphasising his friendship with Russia is inappropriate for an MP,’ the Vliegramp MH17 foundation said in a statement. They have called on the PVV leader to apologise for his actions, arguing that he is ignoring the fact that Russia was involved in the shooting down of the passenger plane.

Wilders is on a multi-day trip to Russia and has met the deputy foreign affairs minister among others.

In another tweet from Moscow Wilders called for an end to what he called Russiaphobia. ‘Stop Russia phobia. It is time for realpolitik. Partnership instead of enemies.’

The relationship between the Netherlands and Russia has been strained for some time.

Last December, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren said the Russian security services are trying to influence public opinion in the Netherlands by spreading fake news.

The Dutch security service AIVD said in its 2016 annual report that it was increasingly busy dealing with digital attacks and clandestine attempts to influence policy, largely from Russia.

And a year ago, the New York Times reported that opponents of the Ukraine treaty with the EU used a special ‘Ukrainian team,’ a group of émigrés whose sympathies lay with Russia, to help tilt Dutch public opinion in the referendum campaign.

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