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“I think Russia understands that if they use nuclear weapons, then the United States will strike back and this response will be much more powerful,” said Rutte.
“The United States is so much stronger than Russia that they just cannot take this risk.”
Rutte reiterated that Ukraine must win and the Netherlands wants to help Kyiv in this by providing significant military support. He added that he supports how Kyiv conducts the war, with Ukraine being the only one to decide when and how it will return Crimea.
“But it’s not for me to decide what to do or what not to do with Crimea,” he added.
“This is a question for the Ukrainian government. For example, I would be extremely angry if something like this happened in Holland and someone else said whether I need to liberate Friesland.”
On Feb. 15, Politico reported that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said in a private conversation that Ukraine’s attempt to retake occupied Crimea would be a “red line” for dictator Vladimir Putin, which “could lead to a broader reaction from Russia,” but the decision is only up to Kyiv.
On Feb. 2, Politico, citing four senior U.S. defense officials, reported that the Pentagon does not believe that Ukraine will be able to oust Russian troops from Crimea anytime soon.
On Oct. 1, 2022, Ukrainian Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, said that Ukrainian forces are likely to enter Crimea by late Spring 2023.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in August 2022 that Russia’s war against Ukraine should end with the liberation of Crimea, just as it began with its occupation.
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