Dutch parliament returns from recess to debate Russia-Ukraine war
The lower house of the Dutch parliament will return from recess on Monday to debate the war in Ukraine with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra, and Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren. The debate was scheduled for last Thursday, but the Cabinet requested that it be moved because Russia had just invaded Ukraine. A lot has happened since then.
The Cabinet promised to send anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank weapons to Ukraine and allocate money to aid asylum seekers. The European Union imposed strict sanctions on Russia. It froze the funds of the Russian Central Bank and blocked several other banks' access to the international payment system SWIFT. In response, the Russian president threatened with nuclear weapons. Ministers Hoekstra and Sigrid Kaag (Finance) condemned his rhetoric.
Before the debate, Rutte will give a statement on behalf of the Cabinet "about where we stand and how we are moving forward, together with our international partners," the Prime Minister said on Twitter on Sunday. Earlier on Sunday, he wrote that "the entire free and democratic world is united more than ever in support of Ukraine."
Several parties believe that sanctions against Russia should be even harsher. According to the D66, harsher sanctions can paralyze the "Russian war machine." VVD parliamentarian Ruben Brekelmans also wants equally strict sanctions against Belarus. The country is helping Russia with its invasion, including by offering free access to Russian troops. The PvdA and GroenLinks, among others, advocate good reception for Ukrainian asylum seekers.
Not all parties think that support for Ukraine should be obvious. The PVV, among others, criticized that the Dutch are negatively affected because of the sanctions against Russia. The penalty package is likely to increase the already high energy prices. Rutte said on Friday that "a huge blow" to purchasing power is imminent. Kaag warned last week that the Cabinet could not solve the purchasing power problems quickly.
Forum voor Democratie leader Thierry Baudet said in a video on Twitter on Thursday that the West caused the war in Ukraine. This video and his sharing of other pro-Russian messages led to a lot of criticism. D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma called Baudet a "Putin parrot." Baudet's party colleague Theo Hiddema also rejected him. Former FvD member Henk Otten called his ex-colleague Baudet a "Manchurian candidate" and "a politician who is the plaything of an enemy power."
Reporting by ANP