Russia mixes its messages over stabbing arrestsThe Russian Embassy in Seoul insisted yesterday that police in Moscow arrested two suspects in the recent stabbing of a South Korean student, even after police officials in the Russian capital denied the alleged arrest.
Russian Ambassador Konstantin Vnukov told Seoul’s Foreign Ministry Tuesday that Moscow police took into custody two suspects in Sunday’s attack that left a 29-year-old South Korean student seriously injured.
Vnukov made the remark after being called into the ministry to hear complaints over a recent rise in attacks on South Koreans in Russia.
On Wednesday, however, police officials in Moscow denied the envoy’s claim in a meeting with South Korean diplomats, according to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.
“At that meeting, the Russian police said no suspects have been arrested but that they have made montages of two suspects and that they are confident of imminent arrests,” Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry did not offer any explanation for the contradiction to the Russian ambassador’s earlier claims. Some flatly said Vnukov had lied. Still, the Russian Embassy stuck to its claim that arrests have been made and that suspects are being questioned.
“We checked again [Wednesday] with our Foreign Ministry in Moscow and confirmed that two suspects are in police custody,” an embassy official told Yonhap, asking not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
“The police probably want to make sure they have the actual culprits before making any announcement,” he added.
Sunday’s attack came just weeks after another South Korean student was beaten and stabbed to death in the Siberian city of Barnaul in what is believed to have been a racially motivated crime.
In Tuesday’s meeting with the Russian envoy, South Korea’s vice foreign minister, Shin Kak-soo, lodged a strong complaint over the series of crimes, saying Korea-Russia relations may be strained if the recent rise of crimes against South Koreans in Russia is allowed to continue.