Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte met President Volodymyr Zelensky on a surprise visit to Kharkiv, just 40 km from the Russian border, and became the seventh Western leader to sign a 10-year security agreement with Ukraine in the last two months.

“The Netherlands will contribute to the Czech Republic’s initiative to purchase 800,000 artillery shells, he told a news conference, saying they would arrive within weeks.

Ukraine is critically short of artillery rounds as its troops try to hold back Russian forces who are again on the offensive in the east, two years after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion.

The Czech Republic said last month it had sourced 500,000 rounds of 155mm shells and 300,000 122mm rounds from third countries, which could be delivered to Ukraine in weeks if funding was secured.


The shells would plug a big hole in Ukraine’s stockpiles with a vital package of US military assistance stuck in Congress facing months of Republican opposition.

Rutte said the Netherlands would donate €150 million to the Czech initiative, taking the total raised so far to €250 million.

The security agreement he signed with Ukraine included €2 billion in military aid from the Netherlands this year, as well as other defense assistance over the next 10 years, Zelensky said.

The visit to Kharkiv was a rare one by a senior Western politician as the city is regularly attacked by Russian air strikes and is much closer to the Russian border than Kyiv.

‘Great News That This Is Finally Happening’ – Ukraine at War Update for April 23
Other Topics of Interest

‘Great News That This Is Finally Happening’ – Ukraine at War Update for April 23

US Senator affirms Ukraine to receive long-range projectiles; Poetry of Soviet-era poet Vasyl Stus to feature at Harvard University lecture; Zelensky hosts US bi-partisan Congressional delegation

The two leaders visited an underground classroom established to allow schoolchildren to attend classes in person, safe from missile strikes.

Rutte praised the courage and determination of the children and teachers as “a true beacon of hope that inspires Ukrainians to keep fighting and allies to keep supporting Ukraine.”

“The task facing Ukrainian allies is clear – do whatever you can to provide what is needed, [for] as long as it takes,” he said.

Zelensky described Rutte’s visit as “symbolic” in a “city that has survived a lot.”


“Here in Kharkiv, it’s 100 percent obvious that Russia is waging a criminal war, its objective is only destruction.”

In a statement on Telegram, Zelensky said that more than 20,000 buildings – schools, universities, churches, kindergartens and residential houses – had been destroyed in Kharkiv in the last two years.

Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Denmark and Britain have all signed bilateral security deals over the past two months that are meant to tide Ukraine over until it can reach its aim of joining the Western military alliance, NATO.

Andriy Yermak, head of Zelenskyy’s office, said agreements were also being discussed with other countries.


Reprinted from euractiv.com.

You can see the original report here.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (0)

Write the first comment for this!