Netherlands Pledges $2.2 Billion in Military Aid for Ukraine




Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Friday he and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte signed a security agreement that will provide Kyiv with $2.2 billion in military aid this year.

Zelenskyy announced details of the plan on his social media accounts, after the two leaders met and held talks in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and a frequent target for Russian attacks.

’The document provides for 2 billion euros of military assistance from the Netherlands this year, as well as further defense assistance over the next 10 years,’ Zelenskyy said in the post. He also posted a copy of the agreement to his official presidential website.

Ukraine warned last month it had received less than a third of the 1 million artillery shells the European Union had promised to deliver and was struggling to hold its defenses.

It withdrew its forces from the eastern town of Avdiivka in February amid difficulty securing ammunition, handing Moscow its first major territorial gain in over a year.

On his X account, formerly Twitter, Zelenskyy posted a video of the two touring the city, including some of the 20,000 buildings Zelenskyy said have been destroyed in Russian attacks.

Zelenskyy added that they visited a residential building destroyed by Russian shelling in January. The website said five people were killed and 14 others were injured in the attack.

Rutte and Zelenskyy also toured special classrooms built into a subway station, allowing about 858 school children in 40 classes to continue their education in relative safety.

Meanwhile, in a social media post Thursday, the U.N. coordinator for Ukraine, Denise Brown, condemned the deadly attacks in the eastern Kharkiv region.

"Local authorities have reported a dozen casualties, including a child being killed. Civilian infrastructure was also damaged," Brown said.

She added that strikes in the Donetsk and Kherson regions Wednesday and Thursday "also caused massive destruction of civilian infrastructure as well as civilian casualties."

Brown said local authorities reported more than 100 homes were impacted, as well as schools and other facilities.

She reported humanitarian workers are on the ground to support affected communities, including by providing construction materials and psychological support.

Margaret Besheer contributed to this report. Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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