Russians exploiting Geneva as espionage ‘hotspot,’ Swiss spy agency FIS chief says
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 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.”
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 Monday 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.