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Russia accused of pressuring Swiss laboratory

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Security measures were recently increased at the government-run Spiez Laboratory near Bern. Keystone

The head of a Swiss laboratory, known for its work in fighting chemical warfare, says that Russia applied severe political pressure in an attempt to discredit its work last year.

“Through false statements and spying attacks, Russia put unprecedented pressure on an institution that is a leading partner of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical WeaponsExternal link (OPCW),” Marc Cadisch, the head of Spiez LaboratoryExternal link, told CH MediaExternal link in interviews published in various Swiss newspapers on Thursday.

+ How two Russian agents tried to spy on the lab

Run by the Federal Office for Civil ProtectionExternal link, the Spiez Laboratory is tasked with advising national authorities and international organisations on developing arms control and non-proliferation agreements.

Cadisch accused Russia of “political instrumentalisation” and said that 2018 was a “crazy” year – unprecedented and unique for the lab, which was involved in the investigation of the attack on the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

According to Cadisch, after the poison attack on Skripal in Britain, the Russian foreign ministry sought to question the credibility of the OPCW and fuel uncertainty with alleged quotations from an official report on the toxin’s creator. Cadisch said that while the lab had tested samples for their chemical makeup, it would never make a statement regarding who might have developed or used the poison.

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