The Netherlands shows support for Ukraine as first refugees arrive
Thousands of people showed their support for the people of Ukraine in protests across the Netherlands over the weekend. The Dutch government has now pledged 20 million euros in humanitarian aid, as the Russian invasion continues.
Dutch government donates millions to Ukrainian war victims
Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, announced over the weekend that the government would donate 20 million euros to Ukranian war victims, saying in a statement that “the Netherlands will stand with Ukrainians in these dark times.”
The money has been earmarked for food, water and medical care. In addition to this donation, the cabinet is supplying 500.000 euros worth of sleeping bags, tents, and blankets for refugees in Moldova, and is arranging for a shipment of medical supplies to be delivered to Ukraine in the coming days.
EU tightens sanctions against Russia and Putin
This financial support comes on top of the various sanctions against Russia that have been imposed by the EU and its allies. Over the weekend, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the EU was closing European airspace for Russian aircraft and cutting off EU access to “the Kremlin’s media machine.”
For the first time ever, the bloc will also finance the purchase of weapons and other equipment for those fighting in Ukraine. All this comes on top of tough economic sanctions that had already been announced by the EU, excluding some Russian banks from SWIFT and freezing the international assets of Russia’s central bank.
Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag has voiced her support for these sanctions, saying that “without money, there is no war machine.” While Kaag has acknowledged that these decisions will also impact the finances of people in the Netherlands, she argues that “anything you can do to slow [Russia] down…you should do now.”
Thousands protest Russian war in Amsterdam
On Sunday, around 15.000 people came together on Dam Square in Amsterdam to show their support for the people of Ukraine and protest the war, many of whom were from either Russia or Ukraine. “I am against the war, against Putin and against this madness and insanity. So I think it is my civic duty to stand here," one Russian protester told AT5.
Demonstrations were also held across other Dutch cities, with people coming together in Groningen and Arnhem to show solidarity for the people of Ukraine. Protestors wielded Ukrainian flags and signs reading “Stop Putin” and “Stand with Ukraine.”
The first Ukrainian refugees arrived in the Netherlands over the weekend. So far, 50 have been registered at the refugee centre in Ter Apel, a village in the north of the country, but State Secretary for Justice and Security Eric van der Burg says this number is expected to rise significantly: “We are in talks with municipalities so that we are prepared."