Dutch diplomat attacked in Moscow amid rising tensions

Dutch diplomat attacked in Moscow amid rising tensions
The Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands has been summoned to account for an attack on a Dutch diplomat in Moscow. The incident follows an official apology from the Dutch government for the illegal arrest of a Russian diplomat in The Hague a week ago.

Roman Kolodkin, Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands, is to account for an attack on a member of the Dutch diplomatic staff in Moscow on Tuesday evening.

Two unknown assailants disguised as electricians forced their way into to a Dutch diplomat’s flat in Moscow, tied the man up and beat him, according to police reports. The intruders a heart and wrote ‘LGBT’ underneath it at the scene of the crime, Russian media outlet Life News reported, showing photographs of the victim's flat. 

Russian media reported that the victim of the attack was Deputy Ambassador Onno Elderenbosch.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, saying that the diplomat had sustained “light injuries,” but is now in good health. They refrained from releasing the identity of the member of the diplomatic mission in Moscow.

Frans Timmermans, Dutch Ambassador to the Russian Federation, called for Russia to guarantee the safety of diplomatic workers, while Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the incident “very serious” and said the Netherlands was “deeply concerned.”  There have also been calls by Dutch politicians to call off events related to the year of Russian culture in the Netherlands.

In response to the reports, the Russian Foreign Ministry said they regretted the attack had occurred and stressed law enforcement was doing everything within their power to bring those responsible to justice.

The incident comes a week after the arrest of Russian diplomat Dmitry Borodin in The Hague caused outrage. According to a testimony by Borodin, Dutch officers broke into his home, assaulted him and took him to a nearby police station where he was kept under arrest for a number of hours.

Dutch police said they were responding to a call from Borodin’s neighbors about the mistreatment of the Russian diplomat’s children. Borodin stated these allegations were false.

Following the incident, Frans Timmerman issued a formal apology, acknowledging that Borodin’s detention amounted to a violation of the Vienna Convention as the police had ignored the minister-counselor’s diplomatic immunity.

"The minister personally expressed his apologies to our ambassador in the Netherlands, and said that he would hand the results of the police investigation over to the Russian side," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry said that the detention of the Russian diplomat had nothing to do with recent tensions between the two countries over the continued detention of Greenpeace activists who staged a protest at a Russian oil rig off Russia’s Arctic coast.