Putin demands Dutch apology after diplomat detained by police

NUSA DUA, Indonesia Tue Oct 8, 2013 11:45am EDT

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte during their meeting at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Anatoly Maltsev/Pool

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte during their meeting at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Anatoly Maltsev/Pool

Related Topics

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin demanded an apology from the Netherlands on Tuesday after Dutch police detained the Russian embassy's second-ranking diplomat at his home, following a complaint by neighbors.

Russia said Dmitry 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.

A 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 an Asia-Pacific 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," he added.

A spokeswoman for the Russian embassy in The Hague, Sofia Sarenkova, said she believed a complaint from neighbors about Borodin's treatment of his children had been "one of the pretexts" for the incident.

Local child protection services in The Hague said they were investigating the neighbors' complaint.


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.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch ambassador on Tuesday morning and gave the Netherlands a 6 p.m. (1400 GMT) deadline to provide an "exhaustive explanation". But 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.

Russia and the Netherlands are already at odds over the prosecution on piracy charges of environmental activists involved in a protest against Arctic oil drilling.

The Netherlands on Friday launched legal proceedings against Russia over the detention of Greenpeace activists on a Dutch-registered ship after their protest at an oil rig off Russia's north coast. Two of the 30 people arrested are Dutch.

On a visit to the Netherlands in April, Putin faced protests from gay rights activists over what human rights organizations say is repression of homosexuals in Russia. Putin denied Russia discriminates against gays.

(Additional reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel in Moscow and Anthony Deutsch in The Hague,; Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Jon Boyle)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (11)
AnneBaker wrote:
Maybeit is good to mention also what is published in Dutch press : Namely that the neighbours of this Russian diplomat were worried about the safety and healthy of the children of the diplomat and there for called the Dutch police. They did this because of his manner towards the children. People do call the police for a reason normaly in the Netherlands.

So the guy was maybe detained with reason?

Recently in Netherlands (BEFORE Russia seased the vessel of the international enviremental group Greenpeace) a rapport was published that diplomats from Russia and the middle east break repeatedly the law in the Netherlands (more then diplomats from any other countries). So they abbuse their diplomatic status, some act above the law.

This could have set a mood maybe, but Dutch are in general pragmatic. And do not act with the bravoure Russians, English, French and Americans have so often.
And Dutch public in general do not see Greenpeace as a ‘Dutch thing’. It is not considered a Dutch organization, the ship has a sails under a NL flag, but that’s about it.

Oct 08, 2013 8:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AnneBaker wrote:
Here the explaination: the neighbours of the Russian diplomat called the police. Because he was abusing his children. At least that is what several Dutch media give as reason. ;)

Oct 08, 2013 8:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Vondelaar wrote:
Dutch media report that Borodin and his wife were both drunk. Borodin’s wife had just caused a car accident (while drunk) in front of the house and when Police arrived, a neighbour told the Police that Borodin was drunk too and molesting his children (age 2 and 4) at that very moment. The Police then decided to take Borodin into custody out of concern for the safety of the children. Diplomatic immunity or not, I feel the Police did the correct thing. And Russia should be ashamed of such a diplomat.

Oct 08, 2013 2:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.