Netherlands wants “maximum sanctions” against Russia; May send more military aid to Ukraine
The Netherlands believes that "maximum sanctions" should be imposed against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said after a meeting with the involved Ministers on Thursday. Ministers Kajsa Ollongern of Defense and Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs also spoke to the press, NOS and NU.nl report.
Rutte did not say what the sanctions should entail but did say that they would target Putin and his government. "We are not in conflict with the Russian people," the Dutch Prime Minister said.
He called the war Russia started very serious. "It is an act of unprecedented aggression, cannot be justified in any way, and it is a serious threat to the stability of Europe and the whole world," Rutte said. "It affects our security, of the entire NATO area, of the whole European Union. It requires our full attention, and we will give that."
The Netherlands is not at war with Russia, but there could be more military movements in the Netherlands in the coming week as NATO responds to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rutte said. According to Defense Minister Ollongren, the Netherlands is preparing to act in a NATO context, should it be needed.
The Dutch government is also responding positively to the Ukrainian request for additional military aid, said Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren. The request was for more helmets and flak vests, but not a large amount of protective equipment, she said.
Earlier, the Cabinet agreed to send sniper rifles, radar equipment, helmets, and body armor to protect from shrapnel.
Ollongren ruled out that Dutch soldiers would be unilaterally sent to Ukraine. At most, the Dutch armed forces will play a role in deterring Russian military advances into one of the NATO countries, such as further incursions feared by the Baltic states. Ollongren spoke of sending "a clear signal to Putin."
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs said that the Russian attack "Goes against all agreements, against international law. There must be an answer." According to him, countries must show that Russia's actions are unacceptable. "Let's focus on maximum sanctions. As far as I am concerned, all options or on the table. It is essential that we do this in unity," he said.
The Cabinet is keeping an eye on how the flow of refugees from Ukraine is developing, as well as what the Russian invasion and associated sanctions will mean for gas prices.