Ukrainian Prez, Dutch PM meet on cooperation, regional security

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte met to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional security, the presidential press service has said.

In a joint statement after their talks, Zelensky and Rutte stated their commitment to develop and further deepen the comprehensive bilateral partnership in all areas of mutual interest, Xinhua news agency reported.

The two leaders highlighted opportunities for enhancing cooperation in the areas of circular economy, healthcare, water and waste management, renewable energy, information technologies, space technologies and inland waterways.

The two parties underlined the importance of a peaceful solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine, saying that diplomacy plays a crucial role in the peace process.

Rutte reiterated his country’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

The Netherlands stands ready to provide technical cyber assistance to Ukraine and continue providing Ukrainian servicemen injured in the Donbas conflict with rehabilitative care, Rutte said.

At the joint press conference after their talks, Zelensky said Ukraine is taking steps to strengthen its defense capabilities, noting that the weapon provided to Ukraine by international partners is needed for protection, not for an offensive.

“The weapon is protection. We think only about peace. We think about the de-occupation of territories only through diplomacy,” Zelensky emphasised.

Rutte arrived in Kiev on Tuesday for a working visit.

Since November, Kiev and some Western countries have accused Russia of assembling heavy troops near the Ukrainian border with a possible intention of “invasion.”

Russia denied the accusation, saying that Russia has the right to mobilize troops within its borders to defend its territory as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s activities constitute a threat to Russia’s border security.

Amid the tensions, some Western countries supplied lethal weapons to Ukraine.

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