No aid for Ukraine until we can defend ourselves – Dutch PM hopeful

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Geert Wilders is aiming to become prime minister after November’s surprise election result

The Netherlands should not send more war aid to Kiev if it leaves the Dutch military unable to defend the country, Geert Wilders, who leads the conservative Party for Freedom (PVV), said in parliament on Wednesday.

The comment came as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was in the US pleading for more military funding, while a €50 billion aid package was stalled in the EU.

“We believe we shouldn’t give military support to Ukraine while we are unable to defend our own country,” the Dutch lawmaker said in a parliamentary debate.

In a shock victory, Wilders’ PVV party won a plurality in the country’s parliament in November, gaining 37 seats out of 150.

Two of Wilders’ potential coalition partners, the center-right New Social Contract (NSC) and the Farmer-Citizen Movement, have also expressed reservations about funding Ukraine’s warchest and its potential accession to the EU, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The Netherlands has been one of Kiev’s key sponsors in its ongoing conflict with Russia. In November, Amsterdam sent five F-16 fighter jets to the European F-16 Training Centre in Romania, where Ukrainian pilots are being trained to fly the American-made warplane.

Overall, the Netherlands said it plans to commit 12-18 jets to train Kiev’s pilots as part of its military aid.

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Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Scholz pulled ruse on Orban to start Ukraine accession talks – Politico

On Thursday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban used his right of veto to block a €50 billion European Commission package for Ukraine. The Hungarian leader said he won't support the package until Budapest gets the funds that are being withheld from Hungary, in a radio interview on Friday. Slovakia’s new government has also rejected a plan to send more military aid to Kiev.

Washington, Kiev’s biggest war sponsor, is pushing Ukraine to adopt a more defensive military strategy for a “tighter budget,” according to a report by the New York Times. Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky acknowledged that Kiev’s counteroffensive had not achieved the “desired results.”

US Senate Republicans blocked a further $60 billion in funding to Kiev last week, demanding stricter US border controls in exchange. Speaking in the White House on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden admitted that without this supplemental funding, the US is “coming to an end” of its ability to help Ukraine.

READ MORE: Who is Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam Dutch election winner?

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a national Q&A session on Thursday, remarked that Russian troops “to say it humbly, are improving their positions” along the entire front line. Earlier in December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Kiev’s losses at more than 125,000 troops since the start of Ukraine’s push in June.

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