Dutch ministers pledge ‘rock solid’ support for Ukraine on first visit to Kyiv By Reuters

By Olena Harmash

KYIV (Reuters) – The newly appointed Dutch defence and foreign affairs ministers have said the Netherlands’ support for Ukraine is “rock solid”.

The Netherlands has been a key ally to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, but a far-right election victory last year cast doubt on its commitment.

On their first visit to Kyiv, Defence Minister Ruben Brekelmans and Foreign Minister Caspar Veldkamp held meetings with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other senior Ukrainian officials.

“My message to all the officials in the Ukrainian government is that the Netherlands stands by Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine in political, military, financial and moral ways,” Veldkamp told Reuters.

Brekelmans said active work was underway to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and help further strengthen its air defences.

“I wanted to stress that our support for Ukraine is rock-solid. Our support to Ukraine is beyond any doubt,” Brekelmans told Reuters as he stood in the center of Kyiv near an open-air exhibition of destroyed Russian military equipment.

The Netherlands has been one of the driving forces behind an international coalition to supply Ukraine with F-16s. The outgoing Dutch government has said that the first of 24 promised jets would be supplied soon.

Brekelmans declined to give any details or specific dates for security reasons.

Zelenskiy said on Friday he wanted to double the air defence capabilities through the summer.

The Netherlands would also soon deliver three launchers and one radar system, Brekelmans said, adding he was also in talks with other partners “to use all creativity to create international coalitions to deliver” Patriot systems, which have helped Kyiv defend itself against Russian attacks.

The talks would continue at the NATO summit, in Washington, on Wednesday, he said.

© Reuters. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomes his Dutch counterpart Caspar Veldkamp, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 6, 2024. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Veldkamp also pledged financial support to help scale up Ukraine’s capacity for forensic research and data collection. The Netherlands would also donate a mobile forensic lab for use in frontline areas, he said.

“This will help to do justice to the many, many dead Ukrainians whose bodies are returning from the front,” he said. “It will also facilitate the investigation of the missing persons cases and will assist the collective effort to bring the deported children back from Russia and reunite them with their families.”


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