The Netherlands will not bow to Russia’s demands that police officers who arrested a Russian diplomat be punished, prime minister Mark Rutte says in an interview with Friday’s Telegraaf.
‘This is not on the agenda. It is not going to happen. The facts as stated by the police do not give a reason to do so,’ Rutte is quoted as saying.
On Thursday, Moscow repeated its demands that the police officers who picked up Dmitri Borodin after neighbours reported he was abusing his children should face sanctions. Officials also called for compensation for the diplomat and his family.
Rutte also told the Telegraaf king Willem-Alexander, who is visiting Moscow in early November to round off a year of celebrations marking 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Russia, may visit president Vladimir Putin.
Rutte did not say what role the king could play in improving the troubled relationship between the two countries but did say ‘we should not use the king as a pawn’.
Asked about the attack on a Dutch diplomat at his home in Moscow earlier this week, Rutte was clear. ‘We have no evidence at the moment that the Russian political elite was behind this,’ the Telegraaf quoted him as saying. ‘I think the Russian authorities used very strong words in their reaction.’
Earlier, foreign minister Frans Timmermans said he could not use the king’s visit in the discussion about diplomatic immunity and the attack on the Dutch embassy number two. ‘At the moment there is no reason to cancel the visit,’ he told MPs.
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