Detainee Diplomat Crisis: Russian President Putin calls for Dutch apology / Breaking News


Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that the Netherlands apologise after a diplomat working for the Russian embassy in the Hague was detained by police and questioned overnight.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants an apology from the Dutch government for the arrest of a Russian embassy staff by police in The Hague. Supposedly, the Counsellor Dimitri Borodin was beaten by armed men and taken away before the eyes of his children – Russia calls it an illegitimate attack.

“This is the most gross breach of the Vienna Convention. We are waiting for explanations and apologies and also for those guilty to be punished,” Mr Putin was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti state news agency at a regional summit in Indonesia.

“We will react depending on how the Dutch side behaves,” he told reporters.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday morning handed a note of protest to the Dutch ambassador to Russia over the incident, the ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Russian news agencies.

“Last weekend, armed people in camouflage uniform stormed the apartment of Dmitry Borodin, a minister counsellor at the Russian embassy, and roughly beat up the diplomat in front of his children, on the absolutely made-up excuse that he allegedly mistreated them,” Mr Lukashevich told Interfax news agency.

“Our diplomat was put in handcuffs and taken to a police station where he was held almost all night,” Mr Lukashevich said, adding that the diplomat had told police of his status.

“After that he was let go without any explanations or apologies.”

The case has been covered widely on Russian state television.

“We are aware of the incident and are looking into it before commenting,” a spokesman at the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Thijs van Son, told AFP.

Dutch police refused to comment.

The dispute comes against a backdrop of tensions between the two countries.

On Friday the Netherlands launched legal proceedings against Russia, saying it had unlawfully detained activists and others on a Dutch-registered Greenpeace ship.

Most of the 30 people on board the Arctic Sunrise were protesting against drilling in the Arctic.

Two Dutch citizens were among those arrested when the boat was seized by Russian authorities near the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform.

Six Britons were also detained and Foreign Secretary William Hague has raised the case with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Officials said Britain’s concerns were based on “consular” issues of welfare.

The Dutch government contests the “unlawful manner” in which the ship was intercepted and is seeking the release of all its passengers, who include 28 activists and two freelance journalists.

But Russia has brushed the legal action away with Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov telling RIA Novosti that Russia had repeatedly asked the Netherlands to halt what Russia said was “illegal activity” by the ship.

“Unfortunately, this was not done. Therefore, we have far more questions for the Dutch side than they can have for us,” RIA quoted Mr Meshkov as saying.

“Everything that happened with the Arctic Sunrise was pure provocation.”

Russian authorities have pressed piracy charges, which could result in prison sentences of 15 years.

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