Russia's actions "cannot go unanswered": Dutch PM
Russia will "feel the consequences of sanctions" for violating Ukraine's sovereignty by recognizing Luhansk and Donetsk, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a brief press statement on Tuesday. He called Russia's actions an "escalation" and unacceptable. "This cannot go unanswered," he said, AD reports.
According to Rutte, the sanctions will be harsh and will become even harsher if Russia sends military into the region. "There are still unconfirmed reports that this is already happening. But I don't want to get ahead of that just yet," he said. It has not yet been sufficiently established that Russia is invading Ukraine, he said.
Rutte said that he knows Russian President Vladimir Putin "reasonably well" and that he is "very aware of the economic sanctions that await him."
The Netherlands will support Ukrain if there is a war, but the Netherlands will not send soldiers, Rutte stressed. "Ukraine is not a member of NATO."
On Monday evening, Putin announced that Russia recognized the independence of renegade Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and launched a "peace mission" in the insurgent areas. Pro-Russian separatists have been fighting with the Ukrainian government in these regions since 2014. Flight MH17 was hit by a missile fired as part of this conflict.
"The man is, of course, totally paranoid," Rutte said about Putin on talk show Jinek after the Russian president's speech. According to Rutte, Putin portrayed the Ukrainian government as a kind of dictatorship, while Ukraine's government is democratically elected. "That is quite different from the situation in Russia."
Parties in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, called on the Cabinet to advocate in the EU for harsh sanctions against Russia.