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De Volkskrant - Netherlands | Monday, July 21, 2014

Putin takes advantage of Europe's powerlessness

After the shock at the deaths of the 193 Dutch victims, anger is growing in the Netherlands over how their remains are being treated. The pro-Russian rebels are said to have removed the majority of the corpses. Prime Minister Mark Rutte must exert more pressure on Moscow, the left-liberal daily De Volkskrant demands: "Rutte made a weak impression on the weekend. Certainly, he had an 'insistent' telephone conversation with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Kremlin boss fobbed him off with evasive comments. ... Rutte must now take the initiative and see to it that the OSCE is given the necessary protection to carry out its investigations unimpeded at the crash site. ... The crisis teaches us that Putin is only too happy to take advantage of the European Union's powerlessness - and reluctance - to take a stand. ... Now the goal must be must be for Europe to fully enforce the economic sanctions announced by President Obama against Russia. ... Economic profit can no longer be an argument for 'appeasement' vis-à-vis the Kremlin."

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