Russian Ambassador to Switzerland Sergei Garmonin has denounced Swiss accusations of Russian espionage, asserting that they should be dropped due to lack of evidence to preserve relations between the two countries.
His remarks were made on Swiss Public Radio, RTS, about Swiss allegations of Russian spying on the government-run Spiez laboratory outside Bern, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Lausanne. They come five days ahead of a planned meeting in Geneva between the Swiss and Russian foreign ministers, Ignazio Cassis and Sergei Lavrov, respectively.
“Switzerland has not presented any evidence so far,” Garmonin told RTS,external link affirming that the accusations should be dismissed to maintain “healthy” relations between the two countries.
When asked about the intelligence activities of foreign powers in Switzerland, the Russian ambassador admitted their historical existence, but said that “Russia is not the only one”.
“When one talks about Russia, instead of evidence, one always adds “probably”, like when we talk about hackers,” he added.
Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Cassis will meet with Lavrov next Wednesday in Geneva over a working lunch on the sidelines of a ministerial conference on Afghanistan at the United Nations. The meeting comes two months after a previous attempt to make progress on the espionage affair at the UN General Assembly. According to the Swiss News Agency, the goal of the meeting will be "to get to know each other better and to deepen a personal relationship", and to discuss bilateral and multilateral relations and international issues.