Originally posted at 11:46, updated throughout the day
MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – The stand-off between Russian and the Netherlands escalated Tuesday as Moscow angrily demanded a full account of how one its diplomats came to be arrested by the Dutch police over the weekend.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russia Today channel that the state of relations between the two countries will depend on how the Netherlands chooses to handle the matter.
“We need to know what disciplinary measures would be taken in regard to these police officers,” Lavrov said in an English-language interview. “When we get a reaction on this demand, then we will see how we will handle the relations further.”
The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands on Tuesday confirmed that Dmitry Borodin, deputy to the ambassador at the Russian embassy in the Netherlands, was detained over the weekend and said it would investigate whether the incident had violated any diplomatic rules.
Lavrov said the incident was in violation of the Vienna Convention, under which diplomats are granted immunity.
“The explanation was given that somebody told the police that he and his wife were maltreating the kids, two and four-year-old kids, which is absolutely unacceptable apart from any diplomatic privileges,” Lavrov said. “The police has no right to enter an apartment of a diplomat.”
Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesperson Thijs van Son said in a statement sent to RIA Novosti that “on Saturday evening an incident occurred involving a Russian diplomat, which led to an arrest being made by the Dutch police.”
The statement said that the Netherlands would apologize to Russia if investigations revealed any action had been undertaken in violation of the Vienna Convention, under which diplomats are granted diplomatic immunity.
Dutch officials said diplomats are holding consultations to clarify the situation.
In a sign that the controversy is unlikely to abate soon, Russia’s Foreign Ministry quickly replied to the Dutch statement by demanding a fuller account.
“Russia continues to await exhaustive explanations, if these are even possible, and real apologies from the Netherlands,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
Putin, who was attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali on Tuesday, said earlier in the day that the incident with Borodin was “a crude violation of the Vienna Convention,” and demanded “clarifications, apologies and the punishment of those guilty.”
Specific details about what led to the detention of Borodin, a senior diplomat previously posted in Belgium, Luxembourg and several African countries, remain murky.
Russian state television Rossiya-24 reported that local police forced their way into Borodin’s apartment, assaulted him, and then held him at a police station for several hours without explanation.
Reuters cited Dutch news agency ANP as saying that the police had entered Borodin's house in The Hague after receiving a complaint from neighbors about the diplomat's alleged mistreatment of his children.
Reuters cited a Dutch police spokeswoman in The Hague, Ellen van Zijl, as confirming the incident.
She did not give the details of the incident saying only: “This man is fine.”
“He is not in the hospital,” she was quoted as saying.
Borodin wrote in his Twitter account that he and his children “feel well,” and asked for his privacy to be respected.
He also thanked his Twitter subscribers for the words of support, but added that he was not going to further comment on the incident as it was “not a private affair.”
Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights Pavel Astakhov said Tuesday that if allegations concerning Borodin’s mistreatment of his children were confirmed, then Russia would thoroughly investigate the incident.
The Dutch Ambassador to Russia, Ron van Dartel, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday morning and handed a note of protest over the incident. He left the building without commenting to the press.
The spat marks another awkward turn in relations between Russia and the Netherlands, which have been tested by the seizure by Russian authorities of a Dutch-registered icebreaker belonging to Greenpeace, and the subsequent imprisonment of all the people on board.
The Netherlands described the seizure of the ship on Saturday as illegal, and the Dutch government has said that it has initiated legal proceedings against Russia at the United Nations over the incident.
(Changes headline, lead, Recasts throughout and Updates with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement)
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- Iranian ExpatWeakness14:28, 09/10/2013The Dutch are responding as anyone would against a weak nation.
Russia's stance on Syria and the turn of events may have boosted its standing in world politics, even though Iran had as much to do with how events have unfolded, but not enough to restore Russia's reputation as a toothless tiger.
Considering the frequent backstabbing of its friends, and the reputation Russia has earned as a loyal friend who will only sell out if the price is right, it appears Iran is slowly signalling a shift away from Russia.
Without Iran as an Ally Russia will lose much of the little clout it has left. So little of a clout that it didn't prevent its diplomat being dragged out and beaten by the Dutch.
A lot of hope was pinned on Putin after the disgraceful leadership of Medvedev. But, so far nothing but disappointment.
- Wolfgang9What a bullsh.t!15:19, 09/10/2013Iranian Expat, keep your dumb ideological BS for yourself.
You really think that Russia is a weak nation? Anybody who knows US politics knows that NATO cannot and will not have any direct confrontation against Russia!
And who ever really cares about Netherlands? In the near future Dutch drivers will have to pay toll fees in Germany, and I just love it!
And as an "Expat" you should always be aware that you may have to move back to your homeland.
- arsanlupinTemper, Wolfie!21:15, 09/10/2013We all know how you always rant, but you need to watch your blood pressure.
Mr. Expat was making an observation of Russian politics in the 21st century based on his viewpoint as an Iranian. While obviously biased, he’s expressing his country’s bitterness towards Russia as a less-than-stalwart ally of Iran. As such he is just as entitled to express them as anyone else. If some of his statements involve facts that you don't like, too bad - we live in an imperfect world.
I think the entire incident was caused by a handful of over-zealous policemen who made some really stupid mistakes - and will no doubt pay for it with their jobs. As for Russia, it’s true it’s lost several allies in the Middle East, but more because those allies’ behavior has become so egregious even Russia couldn’t stomach them, and chose to walk away. (Others, such as India, aren’t a diplomatic embarrassment, so their alliance is a stable one.) Russia lost other a lot more potential allies by their bullying of them whenever possible. Tightening Dutch milk imports after the diplomat’s arrest, boycotting Moldovan wines for being shut out of local politics, threatening all Ukrainian exports if Ukraine signs on with the EU, blocking Lithuanian exports to Russia for hosting the EU Eastern Partnership Forum, the list goes on. Russia is a bully, and with the rest of the world finding other places to buy goods now bought from Russia, Russia will find their ‘clout’ in world politics to continue to wither away …
- Iranian ExpatPoint Not Lost01:24, 10/10/2013Glad to see I, as usual, encourage debate.
Point shouldn't be lost that it appears Iran is signalling a move away from Russia, rightfully.
- xama226people are misreading Russia08:02, 11/10/2013There is a real economic war against Russia. Its main target is to deprive Russia income from its exports. Follow the news on Gazprom and you will know what we are talking about. Poland, Latvia,
Lithuania. the Eu and many others are actively promoting policies both fair and foul to decrease the profitability of this entity. The Greenpeace story fits into this. Ditto the mass media such as Bloomberg and FT. Too many stories to relate. Russia simply reacts sometimes symmetrically sometimes otherwise.
The main weakness of Russia is military because for twenty years no money was invested in defence. You cannot use nuclear weapons in these cases.
Polically Putin is systematically undermined by the oligarchs in many ways,
One of the main achievements of the 6th BRICS Summit was the signing of an official document on establishing a New Development Bank with a declared capital of $100 billion. The creation of the bank is an important step towards institutionalizing BRICS and strengthening its positions in the world in the long run.