Zelensky Arrives in the Netherlands to Speak at The Hague, Dutch Media Reports

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AMSTERDAM — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine unexpectedly traveled to the Netherlands on Wednesday and was scheduled to speak in The Hague on Thursday, according to the Dutch wire service ANP.

Mr. Zelensky made the trip after spending much of Wednesday denying Russian claims his country was responsible for an early morning drone attack on the Kremlin, saying that Ukraine was focused on the fight on its own soil. “We’re defending our villages and cities,” he said, while visiting Nordic leaders in Helsinki, Finland.

In the Netherlands, Mr. Zelensky was also expected to meet with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and to visit the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir V. Putin and a Russian official for war crimes in March.

The visit, which had not been reported until hours before his arrival, was Mr. Zelensky’s first in-person visit to the Netherlands as the leader of Ukraine. Mr. Zelensky addressed the Dutch House of Representatives over video in March 2022, when he asked lawmakers to stop doing business with Russia and to send more munitions.

Mr. Zelensky has made few overseas trips since the Russian invasion began, including a tour of Britain, France and Belgium in February and a Washington trip in December 2022. Earlier on Wednesday, he met with Nordic leaders in Finland, and he was scheduled to take an official state visit to Germany on May 13, according to Berlin’s police department.

Mr. Zelensky is expected to make a speech titled “No Peace Without Justice for Ukraine” in The Hague on Thursday, according to ANP.

The Ukrainian president has long urged that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and the officials who helped bring war to Ukraine be held accountable by international law. He and other Ukrainian officials have proposed that European leaders set up a special tribunal for that purpose, one that could work alongside the International Criminal Court but bypass its long, onerous prosecution process.

Mr. Zelensky referred to such a tribunal on Wednesday, as he rejected Russia’s accusations, which framed the explosions at the Kremlin as an assassination attempt on Mr. Putin.

“We didn’t attack Putin,” he said. And as for the Russian leader’s fate, he said, “We leave it to the tribunal.”

Johanna Lemola contributed reporting from Helsinki, Finland.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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