Dutch people in Russia feeling increasingly uneasy
Dutch people living in Russia feel increasingly uneasy in the country as it wages war on Ukraine, NOS reports after speaking to two of them. The Dutch embassy in Russia is meeting with several people to discuss their options.
Entrepreneur Jeroen Ketting told the broadcaster that the past few days had filled him with disbelief. "I am, of course, not Russian, and I absolutely don't support [the invasion of Ukraine], but I have built bridges between Russia and the West for 28 years. I now have my doubts about that. The same applies to other Dutch people I speak to here. They also ask themselves what kind of country they've been dealing with all this time," he said in the podcast De Dag.
Pyotr Sauer, who lives in Russia and works as a journalist for the Moscow Times and The Guardian, said this has been "the hardest week of my life." "I still have a hard time understanding that Russia, the country I grew up in, has invaded Ukraine. And so violently too. I can only imagine how Ukrainians feel, and that is a thousand times worse." According to him, Russia is becoming even more authoritarian now that it's wartime. "It's already difficult for Russian journalists. You can't say the word war. If you write the word invasion, your medium will be blocked. Foreign journalists are still allowed to work, but I'm afraid we'll be kicked out of the country at any moment."
On Monday, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs urged Dutch people in Russia to leave the country. A spokesperson for KLM could not tell news wire ANP if any Dutch travelers are stuck in Russia. The Dutch airline canceled all flights to and from Moscow and Saint Petersburg until the end of March. Russia also closed its airspace to European airlines.