Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday demanded that The Netherlands apologise for the arrest of a top Russian diplomat, a feud that comes as the two countries, which were supposed to be using this year to celebrate their historical ties, are at odds over Russia's decision to put on trial a group of Greenpeace activists.
The diplomat, Dmitry Borodin, was arrested by Dutch police in The Hague late 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.
Speaking from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia, Putin described the arrest as a "rude violation" of treaties on diplomatic relations. The Dutch ministerial statement, while not exactly conciliatory, said, "If it emerges from the investigation that actions were taken in conflict with the Vienna Treaty on Diplomatic Relations, the Netherlands will apologise to Russia."