Burglary adds to Russian-Dutch diplomatic tensions

Friday 18 October 2013 14.45
Diplomatic difficulties have marked Russian-Dutch bilateral year
Diplomatic difficulties have marked Russian-Dutch bilateral year

Russia has condemned the apparent burglary of a Russian Embassy staff member's apartment in the Netherlands.

The break-in is the latest twist in a series of diplomatic rows between Russia and The Netherlands.

Embassy staff living in an apartment block in The Hague found signs of a break-in after work at the flat of a colleague who was on holiday.

"The police arrived at the site quickly and began the investigation right away. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans expressed his apologies for to the incident," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

"We expect the Dutch authorities to do everything within their power to identify the offenders," he added.

The burglary comes at a tense time in Russian-Dutch relations.

Earlier this month, Dutch authorities apologised for detaining a Russian envoy in his home.

Russia expressed regret on Wednesday over the beating of Dutch diplomat in his Moscow flat by unknown intruders and said it would seek out the culprits.

The two countries are already at odds over the detention in Russia of Greenpeace activists, including two Dutch citizens, after a protest group sailed to a Russian Arctic oil rig in a Dutch-registered Greenpeace ship. 

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has released CCTV footage it says shows a group of burglars wearing balaclavas entering the grounds of its office in Murmansk, the Arctic city where the ship and activists are being held.

The difficulties between Russia and the Netherlands come during a bilateral year aimed at promoting culture between both countries.