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Kremlin following referendum in Netherlands but does not interfere in sovereign relations

April 06, 2016, 13:14 UTC+3

The referendum on the Ukraine-EU association is taking place in the Netherlands today

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MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. The Kremlin is following the referendum in the Netherlands on the Ukraine-EU association but does not interfere in their sovereign relationship.

"We are indeed following developments in Europe as a whole, of course, we are monitoring the news about the results of this referendum. We know that it is advisory, but, anyway, this is an internal affair of the Netherlands, and we do not think it is possible to influence it in any way and recommend something to the Netherlands," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, adding that "Russia has never done this."

"Of course, we cannot interfere in any way in the sovereign relations between Ukraine and its European partners, and we have never done this," the Kremlin spokesman said.

He added that attempts "to see ‘Moscow’s hand’ in everything’ can only cause a smile, but a smile with a touch of sadness."

The referendum on the Ukraine-EU association is taking place in the Netherlands today. Its results will be advisory and not mandatory for implementation by the Dutch government.

Nevertheless, in case of a "no" vote and if the referendum is considered to be valid, the authorities will have to take its results into account. The only question for the Wednesday referendum is "Are you for or against the ratification of the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine?"

A group of EU countries, including the Baltic States, Poland, Britain and Sweden, want to see Ukraine as a full EU member in future. But a second group of countries consisting of France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria is opposed to the idea and have never given any promises of full EU membership to Ukraine.

Last week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in an interview with the information portal that his country was also against the EU membership for Ukraine.

According to him, it is important that Ukraine eventually has good relationship with both the EU and Russia, and that is unlikely to happen if Ukraine becomes an EU member.

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