Military intervention in Ukraine is really not an option, says Prime Minister Rutte in conversation with Nieuwsuur. “That would have potential consequences that cannot be overseen. They can be so serious that they can also be a danger to the whole world.”
The 27 leaders of the EU member states were together in Versailles for a two-day summit. Afterwards, political clearer Arjan Noorlander spoke extensively with the Prime Minister about the war and the changing world.
At the moment, according to Rutte, it is only possible to work on sanctions, supply military supplies, continue humanitarian aid and deliver medicines. According to Rutte, economic sanctions are tough, and they are hitting Russian leadership.
NATO conflict risk with Russia
“If you did more, like sending troops or setting up a no-fly zone, you‘ll bring the most powerful military alliance in world history, NATO, into a direct conflict with the second largest nuclear power in the world, Russia. That is the largest nuclear power in the world after America.”
According to Rutte, the risk of military intervention is too high. “It is also the job of me and my colleagues to protect our country, keep our country safe. That is the cabinet’s first task. And collectively as NATO, to ensure that we protect the NATO alliance.”
“That means you can take risk with heavy sanctions packages, and deliver military weapons that we find responsible,” Rutte continues. “But there is also a time when leaders have to say: now it‘s going to be irresponsible. This applies to a no-fly zone or troops on the ground of us in Ukraine.”
Ukraine would like to join the EU. Last week, President Zelensky filed an official application for membership. A large majority of the European Parliament wants Ukraine to have the candidate membership and Parliament called on the Commission and the Member States to work towards it. The European Commission must assess what Ukraine needs to do in order to become an EU member.
There are sounds that Rutte would put his foot in particular. But according to Rutte, it is about several countries, and caution should be exercised. “There is a much wider group of countries saying: ‘We need to work much more intensively with Ukraine in the coming period. ‘ We also understand that they have that ambition to focus more on Europe. But we also need to keep that practical. There is an application for membership. But that’s going to take longer.”
“It is Ukraine‘s European ambition and we have to recognize and recognize it. They are also partners in Europe, we are family. But if membership application becomes a part, an instrument in a political process, that is a major risk for such a European Union as a whole.”
According to Rutte, a big page of history has changed. “It’s war in Europe, between Russia and Ukraine. We must do everything we can to deescalate that as quickly as possible, stop where it is and end.”
Watch the conversation with Prime Minister Mark Rutte here: