Saturday, November 04, 2006

Russia protests to Macedonia as diplomats attacked

Russia sent a protest note to Macedonia on Monday urging the Balkan state to conduct a fast and objective investigation into a violent attack on four Russian diplomats at the weekend, Russian media said.

Macedonian media speculated that the fight had been over a young woman, while the interior ministry said it was doing all it could "to find and apprehend the attackers".

The diplomats were just about to leave a central cafe in Macedonia's capital Skopje late on Saturday when an unknown man approached them and hit one of the Russians, Russian television channels said.

"Soon afterwards, between 10 and 12 people were taking part in the attack on the four diplomats," said Russia's ORT First Channel. "The attackers used glass bottles and brass knuckles."

The diplomats were badly hurt and taken to hospital. They have now left the hospital and are in a satisfactory condition, Russian media reported.

Macedonian police spokesman Borce Pesevski said that at around 1.30 a.m. (0030 GMT) on Sunday "there was an argument between a dozen people at a bar, an argument that continued outside on the pavement".

"Then six to seven still unknown assailants physically attacked four others, all employees in the Russian embassy," he said. "They were beaten up, sustained injuries, and after receiving medical treatment they were released home."

Moscow expects Macedonia to give an official explanation once the incident has been investigated, Interfax news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin as saying.

No comments: