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Russian diplomat expulsions No Swiss action on Russian spy poisoning before investigation results

Smiling Swiss and Russian diplomats in Swiss parliament

Russia's parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin (L) praised Swiss "flexibility" during a recent visit to Switzerland, which included a meeting with foreign minister Ignazio Cassis (R).

(Keystone)

Switzerland will await the results of ongoing investigations into the poisoning of a Russian spy in the UK before drawing any conclusions, the Swiss foreign ministry said Tuesday. 

This came in response to questions from swissinfo.ch on whether Switzerland would follow other countries and expel Russian diplomats to protest Russia’s alleged involvement. 

“Switzerland strongly condemns the attack in Salisbury with a nerve agent of the "Novichok" class,” says the foreign ministry statement. “It underlines once again that any use of chemical weapons is contrary to international law”. 

The statement also says that this “first use of a nerve poison in the Novichok class is unusual and worrying”. 

+ Read more about Switzerland and Russia 

More than 100 Russian diplomats from more than 20 countries were on Monday expelled by the US and some European Union countries in a coordinated response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in Salisbury, United Kingdom, on March 4. 

Austria, a member of the European Union, said on Monday that it would not expel any diplomats, preferring to remain "neutral" and keep the doors of dialogue with Russia open. 

The Skripals, who were poisoned with what investigators say was a military-grade nerve agent, remain in a critical condition in hospital. 

Although investigations are ongoing, the European Union has backed the UK’s position that all evidence points to Russia.

Switzerland says investigations by the British authorities with the help of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are of “central importance” and that “those responsible must be brought to justice”. 

“Switzerland calls for cooperation in the clarification of such violations of international law and in this context supports mechanisms and institutions that can independently clarify facts and secure evidence,” the Swiss foreign ministry statement says.

swissinfo.ch/jc

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