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War in Ukraine could last for years as Putin still wants ‘the whole of Ukraine’, says NATO chief

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (on screen) addresses the Dutch House of Representatives in The Hague March 31, hoping to drum up support in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Bart Maat/ANP/AFP/Getty Images)

The Netherlands has detained 14 Russian-owned superyachts, frozen 516 million euros ($563 million) in assets and blocked 155 million euros ($169 million) in transactions as part of the sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, said the Dutch foreign minister. Wopke Hoekstra said Wednesday.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, Hoekstra explained that 12 yachts were currently being built at five shipyards in the Netherlands for the Russian “so-called ‘ultimate beneficial owners'”.

While some of the owners are not on the European sanctions list, “due to the current export measures these vessels are not allowed to be delivered at the moment”, he said, adding that “the Ownership structures of these yachts are still under investigation.”

In addition to those 12, Hoekstra said two yachts undergoing maintenance at Dutch yards had been placed under stricter customs surveillance, and “the relationship of one of those yachts to a person named on the sanctions lists European countries is under investigation”.

Since the introduction of the first sanctions, “nearly 30,000 containers in transit to Russia/Belarus have been stopped” at the port of Rotterdam, and they have been investigated to “determine whether they fall under the measures sanctions,” he added.

Of those investigations, around 5,500 containers were held up suspected of containing luxury goods worth 300 euros ($350) per item. “If so, these goods cannot be sent to Russia/Belarus,” Hoekstra said.

Dutch customs officials also carried out 3,300 checks on freight shipments. Following investigations, nine shipments were held back as they included, “diesel engine parts, oil industry equipment and cryptographic (data security) goods,” Hoekstra noted, adding that, “these goods are returned to the exporter and therefore not to the destination originally specified.

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