Dutch Foreign Minister: “Violence against Ukraine cannot go unpunished”
In an official visit to Kyiv, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra pledged support for the Ukrainian people and government, telling President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the “violence against Ukraine cannot go unpunished.”
Hoekstra pledges support for Ukraine during visit to Kyiv
Visiting the Ukrainian capital and the Kyiv suburb of Irpin on May 10, Hoekstra met with Zelenskyy, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Dutch Ambassador Jennes de Mol. During talks with Zelenskyy, Hoekstra once again emphasised the Netherlands’ continued support for the people of Ukraine, and pledged additional military and financial support and humanitarian aid.
The Dutch Foreign Minister also highlighted the role the Netherlands would play in ensuring guilty parties are brought to justice. “Walking through Irpin is confronting,” Hoekstra said. “All around us we saw destroyed houses and buildings…[the] violence against Ukraine cannot go unpunished. That is why the Netherlands is committed to truth-finding and justice.”
While Mark Rutte didn’t accompany Hoekstra on his trip, the Dutch Prime Minister is due to address the Ukrainian Parliament on May 12, via a live video feed. “The Netherlands will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine against Russian aggression," Rutte said on Twitter. His speech comes six weeks after Zelenskyy addressed the Dutch parliament in a historic speech.
First Dutch volunteer dies fighting in Ukraine
As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands has already enacted various sanctions against Russia in a show of support for Ukraine. The Dutch government has also committed to boycotting Russian gas and coal by the end of 2022.
In addition to government support, the citizens of the Netherlands have done what they can to show their support, raising millions of euros and opening their homes to refugees. Dozens of Dutch citizens also volunteered to join the Ukrainian army in its fight against Russian forces.
Earlier this week, De Telegraaf reported that 55-year-old Ron Vogelaar had died after being struck by artillery fire on May 4, making him the first Dutch volunteer to die in the war since Russia’s invasion at the end of February. “He has never regretted his decision. He was happy and he felt he was in the right place,” Vogelaar’s daughter wrote on social media.
Thumb: Alexandros Michailidis via Shutterstock.