Ukraine’s Zelenskyy makes surprise visit to Netherlands: Media

Zelenskyy is expected to visit the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrests warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crime charges.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto speak during a press conference with the Nordic heads of state during the Nordic-Ukrainian Summit, at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 3, 2023. Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, centre, with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, left, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, right, during a press conference with Nordic heads of state at the Nordic-Ukrainian Summit in Helsinki, Finland, May 3, 2023 [Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/ via Reuters]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in the Netherlands, local media reported, on an unannounced visit expected to include meetings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as well as members of the country’s parliament.

Dutch news agency ANP reported that Zelenskyy, making his first visit to the Netherlands, landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport late on Wednesday after attending a Nordic summit in Finland’s capital Helsinki.

ANP published a dark photo of an aircraft, claiming it was the Dutch government plane likely carrying the Ukrainian leader. The Dutch government plane that reportedly transported Zelenskyy flew on Wednesday from a Polish airport to Helsinki, according to NOS.

Zelenskyy will visit the ICC, which is based in The Hague, the news agency said.

In March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of responsibility for the “war crime of unlawful deportation of children” from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. Maria Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in Putin’s presidential office, was also issued an arrest warrant by the ICC for alleged war crimes related to the transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Russia, which is not a member of the ICC and rejects its jurisdiction, denies committing atrocities in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy is also expected to deliver a speech in The Hague entitled “No peace without justice for Ukraine”, according to public broadcaster NOS. A meeting with Dutch MPs is planned as well as talks with Prime Minister Rutte, ANP reported, citing unnamed sources.

Despite his country being in the throes of war, the Ukrainian leader has made unannounced visits to several foreign capitals including London, Paris and Washington, DC, since Russia’s February 2022, full-scale invasion.

Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Finland earlier on Wednesday, where he promised that this year would be “decisive” in dealing with Russia.

“I believe that this year will be decisive for us, for Europe, for Ukraine, decisive for victory,” he told reporters during a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.

‘As long as it takes’

Earlier in the day, Nordic countries attending the summit with Zelenskyy pledged their steadfast support for Ukraine in its war against Russia with Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland promising ongoing “political, financial, humanitarian and military support”.

“As long as it takes” and for as long as is necessary were frequently used statements, both in the joint communique at the end of the summit and at a press conference with Zelenskyy, Niinisto and other Nordic leaders.

Zelenskyy also denied that his country had any role in what Russia said on Wednesday was an attempted drone attack on the Kremlin by Ukraine, intended to kill Putin.

“We don’t attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We’re defending our villages and cities,” the Ukrainian leader said.

Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Russia’s claims of an attempted attack on Putin could provide a pretext for Russia “to justify massive strikes on Ukrainian cities, on the civilian population, on infrastructure facilities”.

Zelenskyy also expressed confidence that future Ukrainian battlefield successes would prompt Western supporters to provide the advanced fighter jets Kyiv has long sought.

“I am very much sure about the warplanes because we are going to have a counteroffensive soon and I’m quite sure we’re going to get planes afterward,” Zelenskyy said at the press conference with Niinisto in Finland.

Niinisto expressed reservations, when asked, about Finland supplying the F/A-18 Hornet fighters in its military stocks, to which Zelenskyy replied with a smile: “But we like your aircraft, just for you to know, Mr President.”

Zelenskyy’s visit to the Finnish capital was kept secret until shortly before his arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Nordic countries have consistently provided substantial military and financial assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Denmark on Tuesday announced it would donate a package of military equipment worth 1.7 bn Danish kroner ($252m) to help Ukraine’s expected counteroffensive.

Source: News Agencies