Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in the Netherlands, local media reported, for an unannounced visit that is expected to include meetings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and members of the country’s parliament.
The Dutch news agency ANP reported that Zelenskyy, who was making his first visit to the Netherlands, landed at Schiphol late on Wednesday after attending a Nordic summit in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
ANP published a dark photo of a plane, claiming that it was the Dutch government plane that probably carried the Ukrainian leader. The plane of the Dutch government that would have transported Zelensky flew from a Polish airport to Helsinki on Wednesday, 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 against Russian President Vladimir Putin on charges of responsibility for the “war crime of unlawful deportation of children” from occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia. Maria Lvova-Belova, commissioner for children’s rights in Putin’s presidential office, also received an arrest warrant from 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 having committed atrocities in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy is also expected to give a speech in The Hague titled “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 reports based on unnamed sources.
Despite his country being at war, since the full-scale invasion of Russia in February 2022, the Ukrainian leader has made unannounced visits to several foreign capitals, including London, Paris and Washington, DC.
Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Finland earlier on Wednesday, where he promised this year would be “decisive” in dealing with Russia.
“I believe this year will be decisive for us, for Europe, for Ukraine, decisive for victory,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.
‘As long as it takes’
Earlier in the day, Scandinavian countries attending the summit with Zelenskyy pledged their steadfast support to Ukraine in its war against Russia with Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, pledging continued “political, financial, humanitarian and military support”.
“As long as it takes” and as long as necessary were common phrases, both in the joint communiqué at the end of the summit and at a press conference with Zelenskyy, Niinisto and other Nordic leaders.
Zelenskyy also denied his country had any role in what Russia said on Wednesday was an attempted drone attack on the Kremlin by Ukraine designed to kill Putin.
“We are not attacking Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We are defending our towns and cities,” the Ukrainian leader said.
Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia’s claims of an attempted attack on Putin could be a pretext for Russia “to justify massive attacks on Ukrainian cities, on the civilian population, on infrastructure facilities”.
Zelenskyy also expressed confidence that future successes on the Ukrainian battlefield would push Western supporters to provide the advanced fighter jets Kiev has long sought.
“I’m very sure about the warplanes because we’re going to have a counter-offensive soon and I’m pretty sure we’ll get planes after that,” Zelenskyy said at the press conference with Niinisto in Finland.
When asked, Niinisto expressed reservations about Finland supplying the F/A-18 Hornet fighters in its military stocks, to which Zelenskyy replied with a smile, “But we love your plane, just to let you 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 support to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Denmark announced on Tuesday that it will donate a package of military equipment worth 1.7 billion Danish kroner ($252 million) to aid Ukraine’s expected counter-offensive.