Yesterday, Mark Rutte and the Minister of Defense Kajsa Ollengren phoned Zelensky to coordinate the next shipment of defence equipment to Ukraine.
During the phone call, the Netherlands committed to sending heavier defence equipment to Ukraine, the NOS reports.
Initially, only lighter weapons were supplied but as the war has carried on, the Netherlands has increased their weapons shipments.
Rutte announced that the Netherlands is to begin sending heavier defence equipment in a tweet yesterday:
A new phase
While the Netherlands has sent supplies to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, this upcoming shipment signifies an escalation in the Netherlands’ involvement.
According to Ollengren: “The war in Ukraine is entering a new phase now that Putin has launched the offensive in the Donbas. We will continue to support Ukraine.”
The Dutch House of Representatives is regularly updated on the shipment of materials to Ukraine but makes no statements about what exact supplies are being sent. This is in line with other countries’ approaches as no one wishes to give Russia this knowledge.
Dutch diplomats expelled from Russia
Coinciding with Rutte’s announcement of new shipments to Ukraine is a new report by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The report reveals that 14 diplomats and a staff member from the Dutch embassy in Moscow and the consulate in Saint Petersburg have to leave Russia, the NOS reports.
The twist? According to the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD), the expelled Dutch were not diplomats, but spies.
According to the Dutch Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, the expulsion was expected. He sees it as retaliation for the Dutch decision to expel 17 Russian diplomats from the Netherlands.
“Nevertheless, I regret this step,” he says. “We are now going to see what the consequences are of the fact that so many colleagues have to leave Moscow and Petersburg.”
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