Zijlstra hugs Rutte after announcing his resignation. AFP / ANP / Martijn Beekman
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Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned Tuesday after admitting that he had fabricated a story about attending a meeting in 2006 at which he said Russian President Vladimir Putin had outlined a strategy for building a greater Russia.Lawmakers also grilled Rutte, who had previously defended Zijlstra despite having known since late January that he had made up the story about Putin.Zijlstra admitted earlier Monday that he had lied in 2016 when he said he had attended a meeting a decade earlier at which Putin reportedly spoke of plans for regional expansion, considering Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states as part of a "Greater Russia".Ironically, Zijlstra had been due to travel to Moscow for a previously scheduled meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Wednesday.
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