"You have friends," Dutch PM says to Ukrainian counterpart as tension with Russia mounts
Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmychal in Kyiv. The main topic of discussion was the mounting tension with Russia. Rutte expressed the hope that the situation would cool down again and that the sanctions that are being prepared would prove unnecessary. "There is still hope that calm will prevail."
At the start of the meeting, Rutte told Shmychal that he did not want to speculate about further escalation of the conflict. However, he explicitly expressed his support of Ukraine. "You have friends all over the world. You know that." An open statement of support was the main reason for this visit.
When they made an appointment to meet a few months ago, the world looked very different, Rutte recalled. Initially, the plan was to discuss economic ties between the Netherlands and Ukraine and to thank the country's government for its role in dealing with the MH17 disaster.
Earlier on Wednesday, Rutte also spoke with members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) at the Dutch embassy in Kyiv. The JIT prepared the lawsuit against the suspect in the MH17 case. Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Koeleba. A meeting with President Volodimir Zelensky is also on the agenda.
Reporting by ANP.