Why Switzerland is a Russian ‘espionage hotspot’

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Switzerland’s famous allegiance to neutrality — even during times of war — has provided the perfect loophole for Russian spies to slip into the country. Hugo Miller of Bloomberg News reports that Geneva has become a spy ‘hotspot’ this year. 


Geneva’s plethora of international organizations and NGOs is what makes it a perfect place for Russian spies to blend in, experts say.


Geneva remains a “hotspot” for international espionage and the number of Russian agents operating there could grow from the “several dozen” there currently, Switzerland’s intelligence service said.


“Recently, various European states have expelled Russian intelligence officers, which might lead the Russian services to deploy their forces in states, like Switzerland, which have not carried out any expulsions,” the Swiss Federal Intelligence service (FIS) said in its latest situation report published on Monday.


Tensions between traditionally neutral Switzerland and Russia have soured after Bern decided in February to fully embrace the European Union’s sanctions imposed following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.


Swiss President Cassis announced tough sanctions on Russia in February.


Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said in May that the decision to adopt those sanctions on Russia didn’t mean it had lost its credibility as a center for diplomacy, but rather it was showing “which values we uphold and where we want to draw the line.”


Swiss terrorism plot foiled


Christian Dussey, who was stationed in Moscow from 2000 to 2004 as a Swiss diplomat and took over running the service in November, echoed those concerns in an interview this week with Tages-Anzeiger.


“Geneva remains the heart of espionage activities in Switzerland, and we know that several dozen officers are active there in Russia’s diplomatic and consular missions,” Dussey said.


Reprinted from Bloomberg NewsThis article may be freely shared and re-printed, provided that it prominently links back to the original article.

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