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Espionage Relations between Switzerland and Russia remain tense

Diplomats at the table

The laboratory in Spiez is suspected of being a target of spying

(Keystone)

Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis met his Russian counterpart, Sergueï Lavrov, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. However, the conversations did not lead to any progress concerning the spy case that has shaken Swiss-Russian relations.

Ignazio Cassis described the encounter as tense. “After all, we didn’t talk about the weather but about the information that has been circulating in Switzerland about possible Russian intelligence activities", said the minister after the bilateral meeting. He added that these activities could be classified as extraordinary.

+ Read more about Swiss government reports of Russian spying activities

Waiting for a calmer climate

Cassis didn’t indicate if the Russian minister apologised for the spying affair. “Such conversations are never intended for accusations or apologies. You simply exchange impressions and information that you have,” he explained. Cassis added that he invited Lavrov to Switzerland. But, Lavrov said that he would like to wait for the climate to calm down again before any proposed visit.

Relations between the two countries, usually good, have been somewhat strained in recent weeks, after Russian diplomats were suspected of large-scale espionage in Switzerland.

Spiez lab Russian ambassador denounces Swiss spying allegations

The Russian ambassador in Bern has refuted claims by the Swiss press that one in four Russian diplomats based in the country is a spy.

This content was published on September 21, 2018 8:28 AM


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