Netherlands Sending Watercraft and Ammunition to Ukraine

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The Netherlands has become the latest European country to promise increased aid to Ukraine to help counter a mounting Russian offensive in the east and the stalled efforts for further assistance from the United States. During a meeting on Friday, March 1, between Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine just 25 miles from the border with Russia, the Netherlands also promised support for Ukraine’s naval defense.

The Defense Ministry detailed the efforts to support Ukraine’s watercraft. They reported that the Netherlands is to provide fast and highly maneuverable rubber boats (RHIBs) and patrol boats as well as assault craft to Ukraine. The plan calls for some of the vessels to be delivered quickly from the Netherlands’ existing supply of vessels and others will come from the manufacturers paid for by the Netherlands.

The delivery includes 14 rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), eight militarized river patrol boats, and CB90 assault craft. Ukraine has used naval watercraft very effective both in assault efforts against Russian naval assets in the occupied eastern regions and for the defense of commercial shipping as it restored exports from the ports around Odesa and on the Danube.

The CB90, manufactured by Saab, is considered to be a fast and very maneuverable assault ship. Saab highlights that more than 250 boats are operating worldwide and they recently developed a next-generation version of the vessel. At approximately 49 feet (15 meters) in length and approximately 20 tons, Saab highlights it is a lightweight vessel that adds to its overall capabilities. The company acknowledges speeds of 40 knots and above.


The Netherlands will also be supply CB90 assault crafts (Saab file photo)


Prime Minister Rutte also announced the Netherlands would be expanding its efforts to support supplying Ukraine with ammunition including badly needed artillery shells. Earlier in the week, the Netherlands said it would commit more than $100 million for additional aid for ammunition, and on Friday he announced the country would also be contributing more than $270 million to a Czech initiative to order large numbers of artillery shells in the short term for Ukraine. The Czech Republic is spearheading an effort to source 500,000 rounds of 155 mm shells and 300,000 122 mm rounds from third countries, and with financial support from European countries, the shells are expected to reach Ukraine in the coming weeks.

Since the beginning of December 2023, the Netherlands reports it has supplied different kinds of ammunition, radar systems, and individual weapons such as rifles and machine guns to Ukraine to support the war effort. Field hospitals, tents and accessories, generators, and numerous medical goods have also been sent to Ukraine.

The two leaders signed a 10-year security agreement that was agreed to in July 2023. According to the Netherlands, it joins 31 countries and the EU that have concluded an official agreement with Ukraine. All of this comes as the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has blocked further U.S. aid to Ukraine while White House and Senate leaders seek a solution.

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