Tracking device found in car of Russian diplomat: Report
A tracking device was found hidden in the car of a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. It called on the Netherlands to stop such an incident from taking place in the future.
According to Russian news agency Interfax, the surveillance equipment was found in the car of a Russian military envoy in the Netherlands. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called this a violation of international treaties.
"Such unfriendly actions further complicate the already difficult relationship between the two countries," the Russian Ministry said in a statement. The Ministry said it summoned a senior Dutch diplomat in Russia, Dominique Kuhling-Bakker, to discuss the matter. "The Dutch diplomat was told that it is necessary to immediately take comprehensive measures to prevent such incidents, which run counter to the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations," the ministry stated.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told NOS that he saw these reports. "I can't comment further on that," he said.
A spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it new of Moscow's claim, and was investigating the allegation.
Troubled relations between the two countries
Last month, The Netherlands filed a case against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The case was filed six years after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down by missile over eastern Ukraine after its departure from Amsterdam. "Achieving justice for 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority," said Stef Blok, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, in announcing the case.
"The government attaches importance to continuing the meetings with Russia on the matter of state responsibility. The purpose of these meetings is to find a solution that does justice to the enormous suffering and damage cause by the downing of Flight MH17," the Dutch government said at the time.
Relations between the two nations have grown increasingly tense in the years since the MH17 disaster. In 2018, four Russian officers were expelled from the Netherlands in connection with a cyberattack on the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. Among their belongings were computer devices used in carrying out the attack, an accusation which Russia denied.
Military intelligence agency MIVD also arrested two alleged Russian spies who were on their way to Switzerland to carry out a separate cyberattack on a laboratory which was investigating chemical weapons use in Syria and the use of poison gas during the attempted assassination of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Russia also denied any involvement in an attempt to hack into the computer systems of Dutch weapons manufacturers. At the time the incident was revealed in 2017, the MIVD had categorized Russia as the second greatest security risk to the Netherlands, and the Western world as a hole. Russia's efforts to destabilize the Netherlands, Europe and NATO are so serious that military intelligence agency MIVD considers it the second largest security risk to the Netherlands and the Western world in general.
Even before MH17, the two nations were involved in several disputes, including the arrest of a Russian diplomat in The Hague in 2013, trade problems involving Dutch potatoes, dairy and flowers, and the lengthy detention of a Greenpeace ship and its crew.