A Russian diplomat in Canberra has agreed to apologise over an incident where he allegedly went into a road rage against a young female motorist in the capital last month.
The apology comes after MP Gai Brodtmann alleged two Russian diplomats threatened and bullied the motorist after one of the embassy staffers drove his car into hers at the Coles supermarket car park in Manuka.
The Labor MP says "consular staff from the Russian Embassy allegedly flouting local laws and threatening residents are the latest shocking example of diplomats putting the safety of the Canberra community at risk."
The diplomat in question Edward Shakirov said he and his colleagues found Ms Brodtmann's allegations "surprising" but he would try to resolve the matter with an apology to the other motorist.
Russian diplomats in Canberra have a well established record for racking up speeding and other traffic offences on the city's roads and then refusing to pay the fines, citing diplomatic immunity.
At the last count, the Embassy had more than 250 fines for speeding, illegal parking, running red lights and other offences around Canberra with local authorities powerless to to anything but send "courtesy letters".
In the latest incident diplomat Sergei Letiagin is alleged to have driven into the car belonging to young public servant Erika Bacon in a minor car park bingle.
According to Ms Brodtmann's letter of complaint to the Russian Ambassador, Mr Letiagin was unable to speak to Ms Bacon in English, so he summoned a colleague, Edward Shakirov, from the nearby Embassy.
Ms Bacon's account, backed up by witnesses at the scene, is that the two Russians then tried to bully her into accepting liability for the damage to her car.
Ms Bacon, a former employee of Fairfax Media, called police after, she alleges, the Russians became aggressive and threatening to her and to the passers-by who tried to help.
Canberra police and federal agents arrived to calm the situation down.
"Mr Shakirov was very aggressive in his approach and spoke very threateningly to me attempting to intimidate me into taking responsibility for the incident," Ms Bacon told Fairfax.
"Mr Shakirov was so aggressive in his approach I felt it was necessary to phone the police."
The embassy's insurance company has since been in touch with Ms Bacon.
Ms Shakirov told Fairfax that he was not aggressive toward Ms Bacon.
"This is surprising, really surprising," he said.
"We will do this in full accordance with the Australian legislation, I agreed with the police that we would resolve this with the assistance of the insurance companies, that is the normal process.
"For my part, I am going to send her in writing, my apologies.
"This statement that diplomats are threatening residents is really surprising to me and to all the staff of the embassy here."
Ms Brodtmann had already written to Russian Ambassador Grigory Logvinov, demanding an apology for the conduct of his officials.
"Recent reports of diplomats speeding or driving while intoxicated are bad enough, but for a diplomat to inflict property damage on a constituent only to abuse them and demand they pay for it themselves is completely unacceptable," the Labor MP said on Wednesday.
"Canberra is a proud host to our many diplomatic missions and Canberrans treat the diplomatic community with respect and appreciation.
"But for Canberra residents to be physically intimidated by diplomats hiding behind immunity is inexcusable.
"Diplomatic immunity is not licence to intimidate and threaten members of the community.
"Diplomatic immunity is not the right to damage the property of others.
"Diplomatic missions have a responsibility to treat their host communities with respect."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.