Russian President Vladmir Putin’s daughter is living with a Dutch boyfriend in the Netherlands as the country reels from MH17, which has been widely blamed on pro-Russian rebels.
Outrage over Maria Putin’s presence in the grief-stricken country — which lost 193 citizens aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 — is fuelling calls for her deportation, The New York Post reported.
Ukrainians living in the Netherlands are also planning a protest outside Maria’s apartment in the wealthy suburb of Voorschoten, outside The Hague, according to De Telegraaf newspaper.
Pieter Broertjes, mayor of the city of Hilversum, demanded the ouster of Maria, 29, during a radio interview Wednesday, as the country held a day of mourning and church bells tolled to announce the arrival of the first bodies from Thursday’s plane crash.
Broertjes later apologised on Twitter, saying his comments were “unwise” and stemmed from a “feeling of helplessness that many will recognise”.
The Guardian has reported “persistent rumours” linking Maria to Jorrit Faassen, who’s held top jobs at Russia’s state-owned Gazprom energy company and Stroytransgaz, a pipeline manufacturer.
It has been reported that Putin had visited the couple in the Netherlands last year, although his spokesman denied the trip.
The Russian president has zealously tried to shield Maria and younger daughter Yekaterina from media scrutiny, and there are no official portraits of them as adults.
But a photo of Maria recently popped up on Facebook, where it was grabbed by a Ukrainian news website that re-posted it — infuriating Putin, according to the Central European News photo agency. [NYPost]