Dutch Prime Minister Criticised for Plans to Supply F-16s to Ukraine

Monday, 21 August 2023

Dutch far-left and right-wing parties have criticised Mark Rutte, Prime Minister, for bypassing parliament and announcing on Sunday his intention to provide Ukraine with the F-16 fighter jets.

As Euractiv reports, Rutte's statement was made during the unexpected visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Netherlands, during which the two countries' leaders met at the air base in Eindhoven. In July, Rutte stressed that the resignation of the Dutch Cabinet of Ministers would not affect support for Ukraine and, therefore, the participation of the Netherlands in the Coalition for the supply of the F-16s.

However, some MPs believe that such an important decision requires parliamentary consultations. 

"Supply of F-16s to Ukraine is a far-reaching decision that must be discussed with the House of Representatives first. Especially when a government is outgoing," Socialist MP Jasper van Dijk (SP/EU Left) tweeted. 

Van Dijk added several parliamentary questions that he has for Rutte, in particular, whether the F-16s can be used on the territory of Russia and how this decision should prevent further escalation of the conflict.

Meanwhile, the far-right forum for democracy (FVD/ID) expressed concern about the potential bombing of Russian facilities by Ukraine.

"Madness. Dutch F-16s to Ukraine to bomb Russian targets with.  Even now that Rutte is outgoing, he is dragging the Netherlands further into war. And he can because all parties in the House of Representatives support him in his warmongering," the party wrote on Twitter.

FvD leader Thierry Baudet has repeatedly made statements in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian aggression in Ukraine. In 2020, the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) questioned him about Russian officials and spies possibly infiltrating his party. 

The Netherlands announced its readiness to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets in May when it announced the creation of a joint coalition with the United Kingdom, which was later joined by several other countries. 

In addition to 42 fighters from the Netherlands, Mette Frederiksen, Danish Prime Minister, has announced that Denmark decided to transfer 19 F-16 fighters to Ukraine.

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