February 13, 2018 / 9:14 PM / 6 months ago

Dutch PM Rutte - Disgraced minister's remarks on Russia reflect reality

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday that remarks made by the country’s disgraced foreign minister about Russian expansionism reflected reality.

Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte smiles as he arrives to attend the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Rutte’s remarks followed the resignation of Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra after it emerged he had falsely claimed to have personally heard President Vladimir Putin speak in 2006 about plans for a “Greater Russia”.

“If you look at what Russia has done in the past 10-15 years, the policy that they have followed, you must say that it’s aimed at expansion,” Rutte said during a debate in parliament.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Gareth Jones

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