Moscow protests Western offer to ‘recruit’ Russian diplomats.

From AFP – Agence France Presse

Moscow on Monday urged the Dutch ambassador to “strongly protest” Western efforts to “recruit” Russian diplomats in the Netherlands, the foreign ministry said.

Ambassador Gilles Beschoor Plug was called in to hear how Moscow “strongly protested an attempt to recruit the military attache at the Russian embassy in The Hague on October 20 by a representative of British intelligence,” the ministry said.

“Such provocative actions are unacceptable … and hamper the normal operation of Russian branches abroad,” she added.

The ministry accused Western intelligence services of having undertaken several similar “provocations” against Russian diplomats in the Netherlands in recent years.

Representatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) approached a Russian diplomat from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “in a park” in December 2018, the ministry accused.

The following December, CIA agents at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport tried to “encourage” a Russian embassy attaché to “cooperate,” the statement said.

Moscow accused the Netherlands of complicity in “these illegitimate acts”.

It listed another case in April when “members of Dutch special services tried to recruit three Russian diplomats who had previously been declared undesirables” before being expelled.

In July 2020, according to a statement, “surveillance equipment was discovered in the car of a (Russian) embassy diplomat in The Hague.

Russia called on “the Dutch authorities to refrain from these hostile actions, which lead to a subsequent deterioration in bilateral relations.”

The Hague should “take comprehensive measures to prevent such incidents in the future,” it said.

Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine has prompted a wave of international condemnation and sanctions, aided by the expulsion from Western countries of hundreds of Russian diplomats, some accused of espionage.

Moscow then sent dozens of Western diplomats home.