• Russia has accused the Netherlands of being part of "these illegitimate acts"
  • Failure to take action could cause "further degradation of bilateral relations," Moscow warned
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there is "neither point nor desire" to maintain diplomatic presence in West

Accusing the Netherlands of being complicit in the "illegitimate acts" by Western intelligence operatives to "recruit" Russian diplomats in The Hague, the Russian foreign ministry on Monday summoned the Dutch ambassador to register its strong protest.

Ambassador Gilles Beschoor Plug of the Netherlands was called in to hear Moscow "protest strongly" against an attempt to recruit a Russian embassy official, The Moscow Times reported quoting a Russian foreign ministry statement.

Russia alleges that a representative from British intelligence services tried to recruit the military attaché at the Russian Embassy in The Hague on Oct. 20. Neither the Dutch government nor British intelligence has commented on the accusation.

Blaming the Netherlands for "taking part" in "these illegitimate acts," Moscow reportedly alleged that Western secret services made several such "provocations" against Russian diplomats over recent years in The Hague.

The Russian foreign ministry in Moscow called on Dutch authorities Monday to prevent "countries that the Netherlands calls its allies" from taking such "unfriendly" actions, warning that failure to act in this regard could lead "to a further degradation of bilateral relations."

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine which led to international condemnation, Russia and the West have traded charges against each other's diplomats with accusations and expulsions of some on charges of spying.

While some western commentators have been calling for the expulsion of all Russian diplomats to isolate Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also declared recently that there is no need to maintain a diplomatic presence in western countries.

"There is neither point nor desire to maintain the previous presence in Western states. Our people work there in conditions that can hardly be called human. Problems are being created constantly for them; they face threats of physical assaults. And, most importantly, there's no work to do since Europe decided to shut off from us and sever any economic cooperation. You can't force love," Lavrov said, as reported by the Russian news agency TASS.

In May, Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador in Washington D.C., alleged that Russian diplomats were threatened with violence by the U.S. intelligence services who were trying to make contact with embassy staff.

"It's like a besieged fortress. Basically, our embassy is operating in a hostile environment. The embassy employees are receiving threats, including those of physical violence," Antonov was quoted as saying by TASS, in a Reuters report.

"Agents from U.S. security services are hanging around outside the Russian embassy, handing out CIA and FBI phone numbers, which can be called to establish contact," Antonov said.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there have been several reports of attacks on Russian diplomats in Europe and an unprecedented wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats from Western capitals.

Representation. The flag of Russia. betexion/Pixabay