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Iran Press TV

Russia slams Dutch for permitting US to stockpile tanks

Iran Press TV

Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:25PM

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says Dutch authorities are deliberately trying to ruin ties with Moscow.

Zakharova made the remark on Wednesday while condemning the Netherlands for permitting the US to stock tanks there, and over a court ruling that mandated Crimean treasures on loan to a Dutch museum to be returned to Ukraine instead of Russia.

"It looks like the Dutch authorities have started to get a taste for deliberately destroying relations with Russia," she said.

"We could not but pay attention to the reports on the resumption of the work of a US military facility in the Netherlands designated for the outpost storage of US armament and heavy military hardware, including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artillery guns," she added.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said that Russia's reaction was "hard to understand" and that the deployment of US tanks was "not an aggressive but a defensive act."

Last week, a court in the Netherlands ordered the return of treasures belonging to Crimea to Ukraine, saying "the objects must go to Ukraine, the artifacts' country of origin and cultural heritage."

A Dutch museum had borrowed the artifacts before Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation in 2014.

The collection of artifacts was on display in the Netherlands at an exhibition titled, "The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea." Four Crimean museums that owned the treasures launched a joint legal bid in November 2014 to demand their return. However, Kiev urged the Allard Pierson Museum to return the historic, priceless collection of archaeological objects, saying Ukraine should be regarded as their owner.

Crimea rejoined Russia after a referendum following a series of political developments in Kiev that led to the ouster of a Russia-backed president in early 2014. However, Kiev and allies in the West rejected the results of the plebiscite, and accused Russia of illegally annexing the Black Sea peninsula.

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