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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte casts his vote in a referendum on the EU-Ukraine association agreement, The Hague, Netherlands, April 6, 2016 (AP photo by Peter Dejong).

The Netherlands’ Ukraine Referendum Puts EU and Rutte on Warning

Thursday, April 14, 2016

AMSTERDAM — Last week, voters in the Netherlands sent a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin along with a punch in the gut to the people of Ukraine. That was the impact felt in Moscow and Kiev from a nonbinding but politically potent referendum in which Dutch voters soundly rejected a European Union treaty forging closer bonds between the EU and Ukraine.

The outcome of the referendum on the EU Association Agreement for Ukraine would have been surprising under almost any circumstances, but it was particularly disconcerting given the dramatic, tragic role the Netherlands has played in the ongoing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine since the conflict there began. ...

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