The most important thing for helping embattled Ukraine is providing military equipment, the Dutch foreign minister told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
"What many of the governments in Europe and North America do is seeking to help out Ukraine. The one most important thing we can currently help Ukraine with is military equipment," Wopke Hoekstra said in the Turkish capital Ankara, on a visit for the 9th Wittenburg Conference between Türkiye and the Netherlands.
"Because a country that is strong on the battlefields to defend itself will also be strong at the negotiating table," Hoekstra said. "Every single time we get a request from the Ukrainians, we diligently look into it. We typically do that and look at what we have in stock."
He said his country is also looking at what it can do together with its partners such as Germany.
"Let's not make the Russians wiser than they already are, but let's seek to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need," he said.
Calling the war in Ukraine "a war of aggression by one and only one country, and that is Russia," he said Moscow chose to violate international law to commit all sorts of crimes and atrocities in Ukraine.
"In our public items, the most important thing is actually (to) call this out for what it really is," Hoekstra said. "And of course next to that, we need to help Ukraine with weapons, sanctions, humanitarian aid, harboring refugees, with many countries including the Netherlands."
Patriot missile systems in Slovakia
Turning to the context of the Dutch Patriot missile systems now stationed in Slovakia, Hoekstra said he had "discussed at length" with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu how the war in Ukraine endangers stability, security, and peace on the continent.
"It does have repercussions and ramifications for all of us as well,” he said, stressing that “the Netherlands with all NATO allies are contributing to ensure that our eastern flank is sufficiently robust so that we are able to defend every single inch of NATO territory if that would be required.”
"And that is the reason why the Netherlands has stepped up its presence in Lithuania. Indeed, as you said, in Slovakia," he underlined, adding that the Netherlands feels it as a "joint obligation.”
Asked how long the Patriot systems will remain in Slovakia, Hoekstra said that they have made a certain commitment for a certain time frame.
"What will be in place is our firm commitment to helping out our NATO partners. Because we do think NATO is the cornerstone here," he said.
He also said his country hopes to see the enlargement of NATO with Finland and Sweden, two countries that sought membership after Russia started the Ukraine war on Feb. 24, upending security balances in the region.
Ties with Türkiye
Explaining the importance of Türkiye for Dutch investors, Hoekstra stated that he is pleased that two countries have "a wide and deep relationship.”
Emphasizing that both countries are important business players for each other, he said: "One of the things that we have exchanged is that, although this is at a very high level, we do think there's potential for more trades, more business, more opportunities in different areas."
* Beyza Binnur Donmez from Ankara contributed to the storyAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.