Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit The Hague on Thursday. He will meet with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren and others, sources said.
The president will also give a speech entitled “No Peace without Justice for Ukraine.” Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra will also be present at the speech.
Zelenskyy’s agenda will also include a meeting with members of both Houses of Parliament on Thursday, the country’s annual Remembrance Day where the Netherlands memorializes those who have died in wars in the past. BBB leader Caroline van der Plas said she will not be present at the meetings. She thinks Dutch war victims should be the focus of this day and not Zelenskyy, she wrote on Twitter. “I think it is very misplaced that this visit has to be done NOW.”
Clingendael Institute researcher Bob Deen said on television program Nieuwsuur that he thought Zelenskyy’s visit to the Netherlands on Thursday was more because of the complicated situation around the war in Ukraine, and not specifically because of Remembrance Day. “I think the day has more to do with logistics,” he said. Deen, who leads the institute’s Russia and Eastern Europe Centre, predicted that Zelenskyy may however reference the date in his speech. The Netherlands also celebrates the anniversary of its liberation near the close of World War II on Friday.
There have been no rumors suggesting that the Ukrainian president will speak during the national Remembrance Day commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam on Thursday evening, NOS reported. The national committee that organizes the event said it had not been informed of a change to the program, similar to what the Amsterdam mayor’s office said in response to questions, according to the broadcaster.
On talk show Op1, Amsterdam police chief Frank Paauw hinted that Zelenskyy will not be present at the Dam Square event. That would be a “very complicated exercise” in view of safety because of the large number of people that visit Dam Square for the event every year, Paauw said.
Zelenskyy will also visit the International Criminal Court. The ICC is investigating war crimes that took place in Ukraine since the Russian invasion there over a year ago. The Netherlands has supported the investigation politically and financially, and also with dispatched members of the Marechaussee, a Dutch military branch, to search for evidence of crimes in Ukraine.
The ICC announced in March that an arrest warrant had been issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is held responsible for unlawfully deporting children and transferring them from Ukrainian territory to Russia.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times
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