Senior Dutch diplomat beaten up in Russia; intruders leave 'LGBT' graffiti

MOSCOW (AFP) - A senior Dutch diplomat at the Dutch embassy in Moscow was beaten up at his home in the Russian capital by unknown individuals who scrawled the letters "LGBT" on a mirror, officials and reports said on Wednesday.

The incident comes amid growing tensions between Russia and the Netherlands over the arrest by the Russian authorities of the 30 crew of a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship campaigning against oil drilling in the Arctic.

The deputy head of the Netherlands mission in Moscow, Mr Onno Elderenbosch, was approached at his home by men who presented themselves as electricians who then beat him up, Russian news reports said.

The intruders who broke into his flat took nothing but scrawled in pink lipstick the letters LGBT (standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and a drawing of a heart, the Interfax news agency and website quoted a security source as saying.

The diplomat, 60, was not badly harmed and did not seek medical attention, the reports added.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans confirmed the attack on his Facebook page, saying that Mr Elderenbosch was assaulted by two intruders. He said he had called the diplomat, "who is now doing fine".

Dutch news agency ANP said that Mr Timmermans would be summoning the Russian ambassador on Wednesday for explanations.

Tensions between Russia and the Netherlands surged last week when police in the Hague detained a Russian diplomat over accusations he was mistreating his children. The Netherlands later apologised for breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. said the intruders to Mr Elderenbosch's flat in central Moscow had said that there was no light on his floor and asked if they could check the electricity in his apartment.

"When the diplomat opened the door, he was hit in the back and he fell, hitting his head on the floor," it quoted a security source as saying. "The intruders then turned the apartment upside down."

The Netherlands have launched legal action to free the Greenpeace activists, who have been charged with piracy and face up to 15 years in jail.