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Swedish ambassador attacked in Moscow

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14:25 CEST+02:00
A crowd of aggressive Russian nationalists attacked a car carrying Sweden's ambassador in Moscow, Johan Molander, on Wednesday morning. The ambassador was returning from a visit to the Estonian embassy when the attack took place.

For twenty minutes, Molander and his driver looked on from inside the vehicle as the Swedish flag was ripped off and the car was vandalized by an angry mob shouting nationalist slogans.

Neither the ambassador nor his chauffeur were injured in the attack.

"Russian police intervened far too late and in insufficient numbers," said the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Christina Johannesson, First Secretary at the Swedish Embassy, was a witness to the events.

"The atmosphere was nasty and aggressive. Russia police did intervene but they were too late. What's more, they were at a numerical disadvantage," she told news agency TT.

The Russian ambassador in Stockholm has been called to a meeting with cabinet secretary Frank Belfrage on Wednesday afternoon. Sweden is expected to lodge a strong formal protest with regard to Russia's handling of the incident.

"Sweden is taking the incident seriously, as it constituted a flagrant and unacceptable breach of the terms of the Vienna Convention with regard to the duties of the host nation to protect diplomatic representatives and embassies.

"Sweden demands an immediate investigation into the incident by Russian authorities, as well as an explanation for the events," said the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told news agency TT the incident was serious and unacceptable", and reiterated Sweden's support for the Estonian government.

Pro-Soviet youths have been camped outside the Estonian embassy in Moscow for six days to protest against the relocation of a Soviet war memorial in the Baltic state's capital Tallinn.

Molander visited the Estonian embassy to discuss the diplomatic tension between Russia and Estonia.

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