Majority of MPs support military support in Ukraine
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, supports sending weapons and other military items to Ukraine now that some 130,000 Russian troops are gathering at the country's border. Though the parliamentarians aren't sure how much the Ministry of Defense will be able to contribute, RTL Nieuws reports.
SGP parliamentarian Kees van der Staaij expects that Defense won't be able to deliver much, given the current state of the army. Agnes Mulder of the CDA also wondered whether giving weapons is a realistic option, thinking of significant shortages at Defense in the past years.
But a majority agreed that the Netherlands must help where it can. "Russia is the aggressor," PvdA parliamentarian Kati Piri during a parliamentary debate on the increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Tunahan Kuzu of DENK called for a "firmer" stance against Russia. And VVD parliamentarian Ruben Brekelmans said the Cabinet must prepare "for the worst."
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs said he would look into what military help the Netherlands can provide "with all due care" and provide clarity within a few weeks. According to the broadcaster, the Netherlands is looking at several options, including bulletproof vests and specialized weapons for snipers.
A parliamentary majority also thinks that measures should affect Russian leaders like president Vladimir Putin financially. "We have to hit Putin where it hurts most: in his wallet. By going after the money Putin and his lackeys obtained through corruption," said D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma.
Parliament called on the Cabinet to argue in the European Union for adding "large-scale corruption" to the reasons for imposing sanctions on Russia.
Hoekstra and Prime Minister Mark Rute visited Ukraine earlier this week, to openly express the Netherlands' support for the country.