Suspected Russian spies deported
GENEVA — Swiss authorities said Friday that the Netherlands arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies who allegedly tried to hack a Swiss laboratory that conducts tests for the UN-backed chemical weapons watchdog.
Switzerland’s foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the attempted attack.
The Federal Intelligence Service says it worked “actively” with British and Dutch partners on the case involving Switzerland’s Spiez Laboratory.
Russia’s foreign minister said earlier this year that the lab analyzed samples linked to the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.
The confirmation came after Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that two Russians suspected of being agents of military intelligence service GRU were kicked out of the Netherlands earlier this year as a result of a Europe-wide investigation.
“The Swiss authorities are aware of the case of Russian spies discovered in The Hague and expelled from the same place,” said FIS spokeswoman Isabelle Graber in an email.
The Swiss attorney general’s office confirmed it had identified “two individuals” as part of a broader investigation opened last year.
Switzerland’s foreign ministry said it summoned Russia’s ambassador on Friday to “protest against this attempted attack” and demanded that Russia “immediately” end its spying activities on Swiss soil.