THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A veteran diplomat who was appointed less than three weeks ago to promote Dutch involvement in the reconstruction of Ukraine has quit over remarks he made — reportedly about Russia — in a new book, the government announced Thursday.

The Dutch foreign ministry said that Ron van Dartel would step down with immediate effect. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher “respects the decision and has accepted his resignation,” the ministry said in a statement.

Van Dartel, a former Dutch ambassador to Serbia, Poland and Russia, quit over comments he made to the author of a new book. Dutch broadcaster RTL reported that they include him saying “Ukrainians are also Russians. We must not forget that. That is the reality.”

The ministry said Van Dartel’s comments were made before his appointment earlier this month, but only published after he took up his new role.

Van Dartel “has realized that he can no longer function credibly with the statements made and has therefore decided to resign his position immediately,” the ministry said.


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