The Netherlands apologises to Russia for diplomat’s arrest

The Netherlands has apologised to Russia for the arrest of a diplomat last weekend, saying the police action broke the Vienna treaty on diplomatic immunity.

Foreign minister Frans Timmermans said he had reached his conclusion based on information from the police.

Dmitri Borodin was arrested at the weekend after neighbours had complained about the way he was treating his children. Russian president Vladimir Putin demanded an apology from the Netherlands.

In the short statement, the foreign affairs ministry said Timmermans also understood why the police took the action they did. ‘They acted in accordance with their professional responsibilities with regard to the situation they found after the report,’ the statement said.

It is unclear exactly what happened leading up to the arrest.

According to various eyewitness claims in different media, Borodin was ‘totally drunk’ and had ‘dragged his children by their hair through the house and garden.  His wife is said to have hit several other cars while driving drunk.

In the statement, Timmermans stressed the Russian national has full diplomatic immunity and the Netherlands and Russia remain in talks about how to conclude the case.


The relationship between the Netherlands and Russia has soured considerably since the arrest, with just a month to go before king Willem-Alexander is due in Moscow for a state visit.

On Wednesday, Russian investigators said drugs had been found on the Greenpeace ship Artic Sunrise, seized by coastguard last month. The ship sails under the Dutch flag and the crew of 30, including two Dutch nationals, are facing piracy charges.

The investigators said a quantity of morphine had been discovered and its origins are being investigated. Greenpeace said in a reaction the drugs are part of the legally-required on-board medical kit and only the captain and medical officer have access to them.

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