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Mark Rutte: we are working hard to get 24 Dutch F-16s flying in the skies over Ukraine as soon as possible

Special Address to the Kyiv Security Forum
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
March 21, 2024

Ladies and gentlemen,

When I’m asked why it’s so important for the Netherlands and the West to keep supporting Ukraine, my answer is always the same: This is a time to ask ourselves what freedom – true freedom – is worth to us. Not just financially, but also in terms of our military, moral and political support.

Three weeks ago I visited the battered city of Kharkiv. The people there know the answer to that question. Because for them, the fight for freedom is reality. It’s the harsh reality for all Ukrainians.

And so they know that freedom is worth everything. They know it’s not something to compromise on. They know that freedom is worth fighting for.

For over two years now, the courage, resilience and resolve of Ukraine’s soldiers and civilians have commanded our respect and admiration.

In Kharkiv I met with schoolchildren and their teachers. They are making the best of every day, even as the brutal Russian attacks continue. Meeting them was moving and inspiring, and I have nothing but respect for their fortitude.

And with that in mind, my message today remains that the Netherlands will continue to stand with Ukraine. As I’ve said on many occasions, we will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.

That’s why, for example, the Netherlands signed a ten-year bilateral security agreement with Ukraine during my last visit on the 1st of March. To show that we will stay committed.

To send a clear message to Kyiv, our international partners and Moscow that we will not falter.

Of course, that means we must translate our words into action. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.

This year the Netherlands is contributing another two billion euros in military support. That funding includes 250 million euros for the Czech Republic’s initiative to purchase artillery shells.

It won’t be our last contribution, either.

And of course, we are also working hard to get 24 Dutch F-16s flying in the skies over Ukraine as soon as possible.

Last but not least, there’s the question of accountability and restoring justice once the war is over.

A crucial part of President Zelenskyy’s peace formula. Because there can be no peace without justice.

In a few weeks’ time, on the 2nd of April, the Netherlands will co-host the Restoring Justice for Ukraine Conference in The Hague. Its goal is to take stock of the progress so far and determine what needs to be done next.

For us in the Netherlands, accountability is an issue close to our hearts. After all, my hometown of The Hague is the international city of peace and justice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope the Kyiv Security Forum will underline the only possible answer to the central question of what freedom is worth to us:

It’s worth everything!

Thank you.

© Arseniy Yatsenyuk Charity Foundation "Open Ukraine"
locationUkraine, Kyiv, 01001
Kyiv Security Forum
Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation
© Arseniy Yatsenyuk Charity Foundation "Open Ukraine"