Europe

Dutch sorry on Russia diplomat case

  • 9 October 2013
  • From the section Europe
The Russian embassy in The Hague Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Borodin works as a minister counsellor at the Russian embassy in The Hague

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans has apologised to Moscow for the arrest and detention of a Russian diplomat.

The incident prompted a diplomatic row, with Russia saying Dmitri Borodin had been beaten and held for several hours.

Neighbours had called police over concerns children were being maltreated in his flat, claims Mr Borodin denied.

After an investigation, Mr Timmermans apologised to the Russian ambassador to The Hague, saying the police had breached rules on diplomatic immunity.

"The state of the Netherlands offers the Russian Federation its apologies," he said in a statement.

Mr Timmermans added that he "personally understands" the actions of the police officers.

Prior to the apology, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a "most gross breach" of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

"We are waiting for explanations and apologies and also for those guilty to be punished," he told reporters on Tuesday. "We will react depending on how the Dutch side behaves."

Mr Borodin works as a minister counsellor at the Russian embassy in The Hague.

Russia's foreign ministry said his flat had been stormed by "armed people in camouflage uniform" and Mr Borodin beaten in front of his son, aged two, and his four-year-old daughter.

Ties between Russian and the Netherlands were already strained by the detention of Greenpeace activists in Russia last month.

The Netherlands launched legal action last week to free the activists, who were charged with piracy after a protest on an Arctic oil rig owned by state-controlled firm Gazprom.

The 30 people, two of them Dutch citizens, were arrested aboard the Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.

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