Coalition parties want sanctions against Russia; Should've blocked Ukraine from NATO, Wilders says
Coalition parties VVD and D66 called on western countries to immediately impose harsh sanctions on Russia after its massive attack on Ukraine early on Thursday morning. Geert Wilders of far-right PVV thinks the West "has made a huge mistake by not excluding Ukraine's NATO membership."
According to VVD parliamentarian Ruben Brekelmans, the Russian invasion of Ukraine "quickly needs a strong Western response." "The day we hoped would never come has now arrived," the VVD's foreign affairs spokesperson in parliament tweeted. Parliament will debate the situation in Ukraine on Thursday afternoon.
Western countries must impose "the toughest possible sanctions package" against the regime in Russia after the attack on Ukraine, D66 foreign affairs spokesperson Sjoerd Sjoerdsma said. "Putin opts for war against Ukraine. Now everything comes down to a joint and as strong response as possible: the toughest possible sanctions package. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people," the D66 MP tweeted.
ChristianUnie, one of the parties in the coalition, also wants new steps against Russia to be taken quickly. "A united, quick and strong response from EU and NATO partners is now crucial," said Don Ceder, one of the MPs from the party. "Unfortunately, what was feared has become a reality. Russia attacked Ukraine last night and started a war. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine," he said on Twitter.
The European Union, the United States of America, and Canada already announced a first package of sanctions after Russia recognized the two renegade regions in Ukraine as independent states. Harsher sanctions would follow if Russia took further steps against Ukraine, Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra said at the time.
According to PVV leader Geert Wilders, the West should have blocked the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO. "There is no excuse" for the Russian invasion of the country, he said on Twitter. He called the invasion "a blatant and condemnable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty." The PVV previously spoke out against military aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.
Wilders also spearheaded a referendum against an association between Ukraine and the European Union in 2016. Only about 30 percent of voters turned out, most voting against the deal. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the results "disastrous" and eventually managed to include some compromises in the treaty. The resulting political backlash prompted the Council of State to release a report, calling referendums a threat to democracy.
In the run-up to the Ukraine referendum, the Jonge Socialisten launched a counter-campaign involving massive posters showing Wilders french-kissing Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.