Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra has officially reopened the Dutch embassy in Kyiv and spoken about the destruction he has seen during his short visit to Ukraine.
On arrival, Hoekstra paid a visit to Irpin, a town outside Kyiv which was heavily bombarded by the Russians and lies largely in ruins.
‘We have all seen the images on television… but when you stand here and see how terrible the destruction is, and what an impact it has had on the locals… homes, schools, hospitals have been totally destroyed,’ Hoekstra said.
The destruction, he said, only emphasised the need to continue providing help to Ukraine, for as long as is necessary.
— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) May 10, 2022
Jan Melissen, an expert in diplomacy who is allied to Leiden and Antwerp universities, told broadcaster NOS that Hoekstra’s visit has an important symbolic function.
‘By going to Ukraine, western leaders are sending out a message that contradicts Putin, who has more or less denied the country’s right to exist,’ he said.
The visit is the first by a Dutch minister to Ukraine and will include a meeting with president Volodymyr Zelenskyy later in the day.
Prime minister Mark Rutte is due to address the Ukraine parliament by video link on Thursday.
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