Statement van minister-president Mark Rutte bij de persconferentie ter gelegenheid van het bezoek van president Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Statement van minister-president Mark Rutte bij de persconferentie ter gelegenheid van het bezoek van president Volodymyr Zelenskyy aan Nederland
Het statement is alleen beschikbaar in het Engels.

Mr. President, dear Volodymyr,

A warm welcome to you and your delegation.
Welcome to the Netherlands and to my hometown, The Hague.
It is truly a special moment for us all to have you in our midst.

Prime Minister, dear Alexander, welcome to you as well.
Your presence here today is proof that Belgium and the Netherlands stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine as friends and as allies.
Volodymyr, it has been 434 days since you spoke a few simple words that resonated all over the world.

‘We’re all here, defending our independence, our country, and it will stay this way.’
That’s what you said, and it would be an understatement to say that you’ve kept your word.
The resolve and courage of the brave soldiers and citizens of Ukraine is without precedent in our lifetime.
And you yourself have become a symbol of what a country and its people can do when they are fighting for their existence, their freedom, and their future.
We all admire you for that.

When I had the privilege to address the members of the Rada almost a year ago, I said: ‘We will stay with you every inch of the way.’
And let me assure you, Volodymyr, that we too are determined to keep our word.
Because this is an unjust war against everything we stand for.
This is a war against freedom, democracy and the rule of law in our part of the world.
That’s why we stand with the Ukrainian people and why you can count on our unwavering support.

Russia cannot win this war and it must be held accountable for all the crimes of aggression and the injustice it is inflicting on the people of Ukraine day after day in this horrific war.
So what better place to meet than here in The Hague, the legal capital of the world.
Ever since the downing of flight MH17 we in The Netherlands have known that justice doesn’t come automatically.
You have to have staying power.
The Netherlands will do everything it can to ensure that justice is done for Ukraine, however long it takes and however difficult that may be.

Volodymyr, as you know, your visit to the Netherlands couldn’t have come at a more symbolic moment.
Every year, on the fourth of May, we remember the Dutch victims of the Second World War and all the Dutch soldiers who have given their lives since then for peace and freedom worldwide.
Tomorrow, on the fifth of May, Liberation Day, we are fortunate that we can celebrate that we have been a free country since 1945.

After so many years it’s easy to take peace and freedom for granted.
But every day, the brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine reminds us that the rule of law is not a given.
It needs protecting when threatened, and defending when attacked.
So believe me when I say that Ukraine will remain in our hearts and minds.
Not only today and tomorrow, but every day until peace and freedom are restored in your country.

This morning you visited the International Criminal Court here in The Hague.
Later this afternoon we will visit a location from where Dutch military equipment is dispatched to the battlefield in Ukraine.
Your visit to the Netherlands sends yet another strong signal that the people of Ukraine and its president will not give in to Russian aggression and that the Netherlands and its allies will continue to support you.
Every inch of the way.

Thank you.