Dutch minister says she hopes aid to Ukraine will continue despite election outcome

AMSTERDAM – Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said on Friday she hoped the country’s military support to Ukraine would continue even under a new government led by anti-EU populist Geert Wilders, who has said the Dutch should stop providing Kyiv with arms.

Wilders, whose far-right Freedom Party (PVV) was the clear winner of national elections this week, has called for the withdrawal of support, saying the Netherlands needs the weapons it gives to Ukraine to be able to defend itself.

Ollongren said this had led to concerned phone calls from colleagues around Europe asking whether the Dutch stance on Ukraine would change.

“In the Netherlands there is broad support for our help to Ukraine,” Ollongren told reporters on Friday.

“I hope and expect this will not change in the new parliament. But the PVV is now the largest party and they have never been enthusiastic about support to Ukraine. They have even been pro-Russia at times. So that has me worried.”

The Dutch government last week earmarked an additional 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in military aid for Ukraine in 2024, taking total support since the start of the Russian invasion to around 7.5 billion euros.

The Netherlands this year played an important role in cementing an international coalition to ultimately deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and has promised it will also supply a number of these planes itself.

Wilders has in recent years praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for what he called his “excellent leadership qualities”.

But he has denounced Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, and has called Russia the aggressor in the conflict.

It is still unclear how Dutch talks that began on Friday on the formation of a new government will unfold, but none of the PVV’s potential coalition partners share his views on ending support for Ukraine.

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