Geert Wilders is aiming to become prime minister after November’s surprise victory in parliament
The Netherlands should not send more war aid to Kiev if it leaves the Dutch military unable to defend itself, Geert Wilders, who leads the conservative Party for Freedom (PVV), said in parliament on Wednesday.
The comment came as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was in the US pleading for more military funding, while a €50 billion aid package was stalled in the EU.
“We believe we shouldn’t give military support to Ukraine while we are unable to defend our own country,” the Dutch lawmaker said in a parliamentary debate.
In a shock victory, Wilders’ PVV party won a plurality in the country’s parliament in November, gaining 37 seats out of 150.
Two of Wilders’ potential coalition partners in his bid to become prime minister are the center-right New Social Contract (NSC), and the Farmer-Citizen Movement. Both parties have also expressed reservations about Ukraine’s potential accession to the EU, and funding Kiev any further, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The Netherlands has been one of Kiev’s key sponsors in its ongoing conflict with Russia. In November, Amsterdam sent five F-16 fighter jets to the European F-16 Training Centre in Romania, where Ukrainian pilots are being trained to fly the American-made warplane.
Overall, the Netherlands said it plans to commit 12-18 jets to train Kiev’s pilots as part of its military aid.
The European Commission is set to continue discussing the allocation of €50 billion ($54 billion) in additional aid for Ukraine during its 14-15 December summit in Brussels.
On Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban used his right of veto to block the €50 billion package, he shared on social media. In a radio interview on Friday, the Hungarian leader said he won’t support the package until Budapest gets the funds that are being withheld from Hungary. In November, Slovakia’s new government also rejected a previously drafted plan to send more military aid to Kiev.
Meanwhile, amid a flailing counteroffensive, Washington, Kiev’s biggest war sponsor, is pushing Ukraine to adopt a more defensive military strategy for a “tighter budget,” according to a report by the New York Times.
US Senate Republicans blocked a further $60 billion in funding to Kiev last week, demanding stricter US border controls in exchange. Speaking in the White House on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden admitted that without this supplemental funding, the US is “coming to an end” of its ability to help Ukraine.
Zelensky acknowledged that Kiev’s counteroffensive had not achieved the “desired results.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a national Q&A session on Thursday, remarked that Russian troops “to say it humbly, are improving their positions” along the entire front line. Earlier in December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Kiev’s losses at more than 125,000 troops since the start of Ukraine’s push in June.
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