Russian aggression in Ukraine is ‘totally unprecedented’, says Dutch PM

A Ukrainian flag hangs on an Amsterdam street. Photo:

Russian aggression in Ukraine is ‘totally unprecedented’ and is shifting increasingly towards civilian targets, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday.

The images of the destruction, including that of an apartment complex in Charkov will never be forgotten, Rutte said after a meeting with ministers.

Rutte also said it is important to document all potential war crimes. ‘Human rights abuses should never go unpunished, and justice must be served,’ the prime minister said.

Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra has already taken the initiative with the UN to set up a committee to monitor human rights abuses, Rutte said.

The prime minister said that at the moment it is impossible to say how many Ukrainians will come to the Netherlands but that they would be warmly welcomed.

Ukrainians do not have to report to the refugee centre in Ter Apel but can instead stay with friends and family although some have already traveled to Groningen.

Ukrainian nationals have 90 days visa free travel within the EU under a Ukraine EU friendship treaty and that will be extended for a longer period, Dutch officials said earlier.

Some 20,000 Ukrainian nationals currently live in the Netherlands.

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