Dutch diplomat beaten in Moscow

A Dutch diplomat was beaten up by two unidentified men who barged into his apartment in central Moscow, authorities said on Wednesday, in an attack that follows the arrest of a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands that caused outrage in Russia.

The incidents involving the Russian and Dutch diplomats come at a time of growing tensions between the two countries over Russia’s seizure of a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship and Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Wednesday in a statement that it was investigating the attack on the diplomat, who it said was pushed to the floor and tied up with tape.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said in a post on his Facebook page that the diplomat was slightly injured in the assault on Tuesday night. Mr. Timmermans said he had summoned the Russian ambassador for an explanation. “Our people have to be able to work safely and I want guarantees that the Russian authorities will accept their responsibilities on that point,” the minister wrote.

The diplomat’s name was not released by either the Dutch Foreign Ministry or the Russian investigators.

Russia was angered by the arrest of Russian diplomat Dmitry Borodin in The Hague on Oct. 5. Timmerman later apologized to Russia, but he also defended the actions of the police who had arrested him. Police have declined to comment on the incident. Dutch state broadcaster NOS reported that police had traced a car involved in an accident that day to Borodin’s home, and neighbours told police they were worried for the safety of the children inside.

Relations were already tested by Russia’s seizure last month of the Greenpeace ship, which was protesting oil drilling in the Arctic. Russia has charged all 30 people on board with piracy, which carries a maximum 15-year sentence.

The Netherlands and Russia chose 2013 as a year to celebrate historical ties, but it has been filled with tension instead.

The new Dutch king, Willem-Alexander, is due to visit Russia and meet with Mr. Putin in November.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 7:44:36 AM |

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