President of Ukraine

Ukraine and the Netherlands together defend our people, our values, and together we must win, defending them – Volodymyr Zelenskyy after meeting with Mark Rutte in Kharkiv

1 March 2024 - 18:58

Ukraine and the Netherlands together defend our people, our values, and together we must win, defending them – Volodymyr Zelenskyy after meeting with Mark Rutte in Kharkiv

Ukraine and the Netherlands have concluded a bilateral Agreement on Security Cooperation, which formalizes the full spectrum of interaction between the two countries for the next 10 years. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kharkiv.

Meeting with media representatives, the Head of State said that the visit of the Dutch government leader to Ukraine, particularly the visit to Kharkiv, is symbolic, as it demonstrates the path both countries have taken in their relations.

"We are together after two years of the full-scale war. We are together after ten years of criminal Russian aggression. We are together defending our people and our values. And together, we must also win, defending them, and achieve our goals. Because life in Ukraine, in our states, in cities like Kharkiv, will surely prevail," said the President of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally thanked Mark Rutte, his team, and the Dutch people for their principled and effective support of Ukraine in the fight for freedom against the Russian aggressor.

"I also want to thank you for every package of defense support, for the leadership of the Netherlands in defense coalitions, for the much-needed assistance in consolidating Europe and the entire free world so that we can stand firm and defend our state, defend our people. And to be able to realize the path to peace – our Formula," the President said.

"Stopping Russia is our common duty," he added.

The Head of State said that today, Ukraine and the Netherlands have concluded an agreement on security cooperation, which formalizes the full range of bilateral interaction for the next 10 years.

"Defense cooperation on land, in the sky, at sea. Technology, political, and economic cooperation. We are interested in joint production, particularly in the development of the defense industry, in relevant investments, that is, in providing our Armed Forces with effective weapons, and our nations with peace, faith in tomorrow," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The President separately expressed gratitude to Mark Rutte for the volume of defense support to Ukraine for the current year set in the agreement, amounting to EUR 2 billion.

"It's a very specific, very powerful support. And it is this year that we must achieve results that will allow us to bring an end to the war on fair terms," he said.

According to the Head of State, the Netherlands is already providing substantial support to Ukraine for air defense: both in strengthening the air defense system and accelerating the appearance of the first F-16 fighter jets in the Ukrainian sky from partners.

Responding to journalists' questions, the President of Ukraine added that it is expected that the Netherlands would provide F-16 fighter jets.

"We will have fighter jets from the Netherlands. We are grateful for this. And we expect the first batch of these fighter jets this year. Secondly, as Mark has already mentioned, what deserves attention is the track that not all countries have joined yet, and the Netherlands has shown its leadership positions here – accountability and a tribunal. I believe these are very strong aspects of this agreement," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Head of State thanked the Netherlands for their principled and strong stance on the need to establish a tribunal for the crime of aggression and for the full restoration of justice. "Every war crime committed by Russia and the primary crime of aggression must receive lawful and just verdicts," he said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy also highlighted that the security agreement with the Netherlands contains clear principles regarding sanctions against Russia, the necessity to redirect Russian assets to protect against Russian aggression, and regarding Ukraine's path to the European Union and NATO.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, sharing his impressions of Kharkiv, noted that through the shelling of the city, the President of Russia is attempting to psychologically ravage its residents.

"Despite the constant atmosphere of threats and uncertainty, the residents of Kharkiv continue to live, the city lives on. Words alone cannot overcome a dictator like Putin. The task facing Ukraine's allies is clear: do everything possible to enable Ukraine to defend itself, to contain Putin's expansionism," he said.

Mark Rutte said that it is precisely to aid Ukraine that the Agreement on Security Cooperation has been signed, which encompasses a broad spectrum of defense cooperation, interaction in reconstruction efforts, sanctions, and the pursuit of justice.

"We stand with Ukraine, shoulder to shoulder. We continue to provide direct defense, financial, and humanitarian support, and we will continue to explore other ways in which we can help," he said.

As emphasized by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the planned transfer includes 22 patrol and three combat boats, as well as four radars and nine howitzers. Additionally, according to him, the Netherlands plans to assist the Czech initiative in purchasing ammunition.

"We are also working on the F-16 jets to arrive in Ukraine as soon as possible so that Ukraine gains an advantage in the sky," added Mark Rutte.