THE HAGUE - The war between Ukraine and Russia is a war for the shared future of the West, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday in a video-link address to the Ukrainian parliament. The stake of the war is "the future of democracy and the international legal order. It is about freedom. Yours and ours. And so, this war is about our common future," said Rutte.
The Prime Minister spoke at the invitation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who Rutte said has become "the embodiment of the fighting spirit and courage" of the Ukrainian armed forces and the Ukrainian people. "We admire the courage of Ukraine more than I can express in words. It's like David against Goliath. And we all know who won that fight."
The celebration of Liberation Day in the Netherlands was different this year because of the war in Ukraine, Rutte said. There was the realization that freedom has a price. "And friends in need must not be left to fend for themselves." The flames of the freedom fires are traditionally lit on May 5. "This year, the flames were blue and yellow," the colors of the Ukrainian flag. "Just like our hearts. Just like our minds."
Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he could win a quick victory in Ukraine, but "that was a serious miscalculation because the opposite has happened. The forces of democracy in the West are more united than ever."
According to Rutte, it is essential that "we seize every opportunity to advance the cooperation between Ukraine and the EU. And that we work together on recovery and reconstruction in a way that brings Ukraine closer to the European Union."
Sanctions against Russia must also remain in place "until Russia’s aggression has ended and Ukraine’s sovereignty has been restored." And the West needs to take the next big step as soon as possible by stopping buying Russian oil. "Let me be clear: the Netherlands is ready to take this step together with our partners and allies."
The Netherlands will also continue to work for justice for Ukraine, Rutte said. He compared it to the MH17 disaster and the fight for justice against "the Russians responsible for the downing" of the plane. "And now I promise you this: the Netherlands will work just as hard to ensure justice when it comes to the despicable acts that Russia is committing against your country and its brave people."