WASHINGTON (AP) — Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte He said on Tuesday that his country plans to “join” efforts by the US and Germany to train and arm Ukraine with advanced patriotic security systems.
Rutte identified the Netherlands’ intentions at the start of a White House meeting with President Joe Biden. The Dutch defense ministry said Rutte’s announcement came after Ukraine asked the Netherlands to provide a “patriotic capability”.
“There’s a willingness to join what you’re doing with Germany in the patriotic program,” Rutte told Biden. “I think it’s important that we join in.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly speech that the Netherlands had agreed to send a patriotic battery to Ukraine. “So, now there are three guaranteed batteries. But this is only the beginning. We are working on new solutions to strengthen our air defense,” said Zelensky.
Rutte said he also spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz He was vague about the commitment in his public comments about the potential aid on Tuesday. He told Dutch broadcaster NOS that his government was negotiating exactly what it could contribute. The Dutch army has four patriotic units, one of which is not in service, according to the Ministry of Defence.
“The idea is not just training, but also equipment,” Rutte told NOS. He added that the Dutch military is now “examining exactly what we have and how we can make sure that it works well with the American and German systems”.
During a forum at Georgetown University, he said Ukraine’s entry was a recognition that “we all need to do more.” A critical phase in the war.
Rutte spoke of the potential assistance as Ukrainian troops arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to begin training to operate and maintain the Patriot missile defense system. The Patriot is a sophisticated surface-to-air missile system that the West has given to Ukraine to counter Russian airstrikes.
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the exercise will last several months and will train 90 to 100 Ukrainian troops on how to use the Patriot missile system.
Biden used Tuesday’s meeting to discuss U.S. efforts to further limit China’s access to advanced semiconductors through export restrictions.
The administration has been trying to get the Netherlands on the same page since the US Commerce Department announced new export restrictions targeting China in October. The restrictions are aimed at limiting China’s ability to access advanced computing chips, build and maintain supercomputers, and develop advanced semiconductors.
“We’re working together on how to keep the Indo-Pacific free and open and obviously China’s challenges,” Biden said at the start of the meeting.
Administration officials have reasoned that export restrictions are necessary because China can use semiconductors to develop advanced military systems, including weapons of mass destruction; human rights violations; and improving the speed and accuracy of its military decision-making, planning and logistics.
ASML, a technology company based in the Netherlands, is a major manufacturer of lithography machines that design and manufacture semiconductors. China is one of ASML’s biggest customers.
CEO Peter Wennink downplayed the impact of U.S. export control regulations soon after the administration released them last fall. ASML last year expected company-wide 2022 sales of 21 billion euros.
The United States is negotiating with Japan on tougher export restrictions to limit the sale of semiconductor manufacturing technology to China. Rudd’s visit comes after Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida For talks last week.
In a joint statement following the meeting, the US and Japan said, “Both sides agreed to sharpen our shared edge in economic security, including the protection and promotion of critical and emerging technologies.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin last week called on Japan and the Netherlands to resist US pressure.
“We hope that the countries concerned will do the right thing and work together to uphold the multilateral trade regime and protect the stability of global industrial and supply chains,” he said. “It will also help protect their own long-term interests.”
Biden hailed the Netherlands as one of America’s “strongest” allies and has proven “very, very steadfast” in its support for Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February. The Netherlands has provided about $2.7 billion (2.5 billion euros) in support of Ukraine this year. The money will be spent on military equipment, humanitarian and diplomatic efforts.
The Netherlands’ provision of patriotic aid to Ukraine – be it weapons systems, missiles or training – would be a major move for NATO allies.
The training of Ukrainian forces now taking place in Oklahoma is focused on how to maintain a battery that the US will send to Ukraine after the training. Each system consists of several components, including a phased array radar, a control station, computers and generators, and typically requires 90 soldiers to operate and maintain, although only three soldiers are needed to actually fire it, according to the military.
Once the Patriot arrives on the battlefield, some of the ongoing maintenance support will be done remotely, Ryder said.
The Dutch prime minister, for his part, praised Biden for leading the international effort to support Ukraine.
“If the United States had not stepped up as you did, I’m sure history will judge in 2022,” Rutte said.
Gorder announced from The Hague, Netherlands. Associated Press writers Lynn Perry, Tara Cobb and Colin Long contributed reporting.