Russia says diplomat's apartment broken into in The Hague

AFP , Friday 18 Oct 2013

The Netherlands apologised for violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations which grants diplomats immunity from arrest

Russia said Friday that unknown intruders had broken into the apartment of one of its embassy staff in The Hague, in the latest incident to spike tensions between the two countries.

The break-in occurred on Thursday evening at an apartment complex housing foreign dignitaries located outside the Russian embassy's grounds, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Returning home from work, Russian embassy staff in The Netherlands ... discovered traces of an illegal entry into one of the apartments," the Russian ministry statement said.

"The apartment is occupied by a staff member of the embassy's administrative-technical personnel, who is currently on vacation."

The statement added that Russia expected "the Dutch authorities to take exhaustive measures in order to establish the culprits of this crime."

The statement came three days after a senior Dutch diplomat at The Netherlands embassy in Moscow was beaten up at his home in the Russian capital by unknown attackers.

Relations between Russia and The Netherlands have deteriorated over Moscow's arrest of the 30-member crew of a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship and an earlier detention of a Russian diplomat in The Netherlands.

The deputy head of the Dutch mission in Moscow was approached at his home on Tuesday by two men who presented themselves as electricians and then beat him up.

The 60-year-old Dutch diplomat was not badly harmed and did not seek medical attention.

Last week, police in The Hague detained a Russian diplomat over accusations he was mistreating his two young children.

The Netherlands later apologised for breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which grants diplomats immunity from arrest, but said police had acted out of professional responsibility when detaining the diplomat.

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