Dutch Army Chief Says Netherlands Must Prepare For War With Russia

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Dutch army chief

The outgoing commander of the Dutch army has called on the Netherlands to prepare itself for a potential future war with Russia.

In an interview with De Telegraaf last week Lieutenant General Martin Wijnen said: “The Netherlands should be seriously afraid of war, and our society should prepare for it…Russia is getting stronger”.

“There is only one language that Russia understands, and that is one of a strong military,” Wijnen said, while stressing the importance of solving the problem of a personnel shortage in the Dutch armed forces.

Wijnen said he expects a lot from the one-year voluntary service initiative for young people, which was implemented after a similar programme in Sweden.

Newsweek reports: The Netherlands, one of the founding members of NATO, has been a strong ally of Ukraine in the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2022. Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, announced last week that his country will soon deliver 18 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to aid in its defense against Putin’s forces.

Wijnen, who is stepping down from his role as the top general for the Dutch army on January 1, said the Netherlands should follow the example of other countries that lie close to Russia. He cited military preparations made by nations such as Sweden, Finland and the Baltic states.

“The Netherlands should not think our safety is guaranteed because we are 1,500 kilometers away [from Russians],” Wijnen said.

Niamh Harris
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