The U.S. has strongly condemned the attack on a senior Dutch diplomat in his Moscow apartment on Tuesday evening, and expressed concern about reports that the assault may have been directed against homosexuals.
"We call on the Russian authorities to thoroughly investigate this unacceptable attack and bring to justice those responsible," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing Wednesday.
"We are also disturbed by a reported anti-LGBT element" to the assault, Psaki said, adding that it was "crucial for the Russian government to ensure a climate of tolerance and reassure their own people and foreign visitors that Russia is a safe place for all."
Unknown assailants on Tuesday evening forced their way into the central Moscow home of a diplomat identified as Onno Elderenbosch, an aide to the Dutch ambassador to Russia, pushed him to the floor and tied him up before ransacking the apartment, Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement.
The attackers did not steal anything, but drew a large pink heart on a mirror and scrawled "LGBT" beneath it, LifeNews reported.
The Foreign Ministry has expressed regret for the "deplorable incident," which took place days after a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands was arrested by Dutch police on suspicions of child abuse, sparking outrage among Russian politicians.