Russian President Vladimir Putin
demanded on Tuesday that the Netherlands apologize for arresting a Russian diplomat, further straining relations between the countries after Moscow decided to put some Greenpeace activists involved in a protest against Arctic oil drilling on trial on piracy charges.
The tensions come during a year meant to celebrate the countries’ historic ties.
The diplomat, Dmitry Borodin, was arrested by Dutch police in The Hague late on Saturday, and he has accused the police of even pulling his one-year-old daughter’s hair as they took him and both his children to the station.
Borodin, whose title is minister-counselor, gave his version of events on his Twitter account.
He said the arrest came even though he identified himself and said he had diplomatic immunity.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Borodin had been arrested over an “absolutely contrived” allegation of child abuse, and that the Dutch ambassador to Russia had been summoned to the ministry in Moscow to receive an “official protest” over the case.
The Netherlands’ Foreign Ministry said an “incident occurred with a Russian diplomat that led to an arrest by the Dutch police” and that it is under review.
Russia said Borodin was badly beaten in front of his children by what it said were unidentified armed assailants, and lodged a formal diplomatic protest over Saturday’s incident.
Dutch police spokeswoman Ellen van Zijl confirmed there had been an incident involving a Russian diplomat, adding: “This man is fine. He is not in the hospital.”
The Dutch Foreign Ministry said the government would apologize if a police investigation found Borodin’s right to diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention had been violated.
Putin, speaking at a news conference in Indonesia after the APEC summit, said the incident was a “very rude violation” of diplomatic rules.
“We are awaiting an explanation, an apology and also punishment of those responsible,” he said. “Depending on how the Dutch side conducts itself, we will react.”
Sarenkova said the men who visited Borodin’s apartment were “wearing something like police uniforms,” but that they did not identify themselves.
She said they pushed Borodin to the ground and beat him with a baton before taking him to a police station.
“I was defending [my] children. I did not know who these people were,” Borodin told the Russian state broadcaster in an interview released late on Monday. “They knocked me down, hit with a baton. Then handcuffs, a hit on the head.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador on Tuesday morning and gave the Netherlands a 6pm deadline to provide an “exhaustive explanation.”
However, Moscow said the response was “more than disappointing.”
“The facts speak for themselves: Police break into the flat of a senior Russian diplomat at night, beat him up, handcuff him and take him to a police station,” the ministry said.
Borodin had not been allowed to contact his embassy, it added.