Dutch push Europe to unite against Russia

Frans Timmermans
. Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans. Source:Flick/Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

The Netherlands wants the European Union to come to stand unanimously against Russia's negligence in taking distance from pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, which is keeping tensions high in that area. 

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans says that all options are on the table for The Netherlands to take action in bringing justice to the victims of the MH17 plane crash, including sanctions against Russia.

In a meeting with his colleagues in Brussels, Minister Timmermans presses the need to separate economics and justice. "This is no longer about economy and trade. This is about safety and justice for almost 200 Dutch that came to their end in a gruesome manner."

The Minister said that The Netherlands will not stand in the way of punitive measures against Russia, speaking against the idea that The Netherlands wants Russian contacts to remain undamaged by any strong action. "We all have to do it together as member states of the European Union."

According to Reuters, sanctions are a possibility, for individual businesses and persons in Russia. Sanctions against entire sectors may have negative side-effects for EU countries dependent on Russian trade, including Germany.

The US has already imposed sanctions against Russia, against two important Russian banks, two energy companies, and eight defense firms. Russian energy giant Gazprom is banned from doing business on American stock markets.

An EU-diplomat tells Reuters that The Netherlands plays a crucial role in eventual sanctions being imposed on Russia from the EU. "The impulse has to come from The Hague, because The Netherlands has the moral mandate to demand a strong reaction. Everything depends on that."

According to Z24.nl, the European Union will reconvene on Tuesday to analyze new information coming out of the investigations into the crash. Timmermans will ask for support from the other EU member states for an international and independent investigation, which should make clear who the culprits are.

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