The national government in the Netherlands is ordering the closure of a trade outpost of the Russian government in the country, in addition to ordering the exits of additional diplomats from Russia amid what was apparently and predictably an only further breakdown in discussions between the two governments over the future of their relations on these fronts.
As in other countries in Europe, the Netherlands also expelled other Russian diplomats not long after Putin’s government launched the present war in Ukraine what’s now one year ago. In connection to the new decision, the Dutch government raised the concern, which has also been raised before, of the Russian regime using diplomacy as a cover for placing intelligence personnel in other countries. The Russian economic office that the Dutch government is closing was operating in Amsterdam, and authorities there are also shutting down the Dutch consulate general that was operating in St. Petersburg, although as of recently, it’s not clear that Dutch office in the prominent Russian city was getting much work done.
“Negotiations with Russia over the terms of sending diplomats back and forth to diplomatic posts have so far come to nothing,” the Dutch government said in an English version of a Saturday statement made available by POLITICO. “Russia keeps trying to surreptitiously place intelligence officers in the Netherlands as diplomats. At the same time, Russia refuses to issue visas for Dutch diplomats to staff the consulate general in St. Petersburg and the embassy in Moscow.”
Elsewhere in the world on Monday, President Joe Biden visited Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Although Russian ground troops have long since departed from the capital’s immediate area, threats still remain across much of the country including Kyiv and its surrounding areas, where airstrikes are possible and have taken place. In close conjunction with a past trip of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Kyiv, Russian forces launched an airstrike on the city.
Now, Biden continues to stand by U.S. support for Ukrainian troops in their efforts to defend the country against Russian forces. In the House, some far-right Republicans have introduced and banded together behind a resolution against further U.S. aid to Ukraine, tying what Americans have provided to civilian deaths, which is a false description of the situation. It’s not Ukrainians deciding to keep the war going with the weapons the Biden administration has given that country. If the Russian troops left, the conflict would end — and if the U.S. stopped its support, there could be even more civilian deaths because the Russian military could operate with less push-back against its violence.