Espreso. Global

Switzerland tightens measures to expel Russian spies ahead of Peace Summit

28 May, 2024 Tuesday
17:50

The upper house of the Swiss parliament has approved stronger measures to expel spies, particularly Russian agents, as preparations for the Peace Summit on Ukraine continue

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This is reported by Reuters.

Thirty-two parliamentarians voted for the proposal titled "systematically expel Russian spies and other foreign spies," with nine against. President Viola Amherd also supported the proposal in her address to the parliament.

"Foreign states should feel Switzerland is reacting to violations of its security and defending itself," Amherd said.

Amherd noted that the government plans to successively expel intelligence officers whose activities threaten Switzerland's security or its role as the summit host, stressing that this initiative won't lead to automatic decisions.

Franziska Roth, a lawmaker of the center-left Social Democrats and a supporter of the measure, called neutral Switzerland a "magnet" for spies due to its many international organizations. She emphasized that Swiss intelligence services particularly highlight the presence of Russian spies. Roth stated that Switzerland should show "zero tolerance" for espionage, and this initiative will help strengthen control and expulsion mechanisms.

Earlier, in December 2023, the lower house of parliament supported this proposal. The government is expected to take action in the future.

According to swissinfo, the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) reports that every fifth Russian intelligence officer in Europe is stationed in Switzerland, and at least a third of the 217 Russian diplomats in Switzerland are spies.

Previously, Poland restricted the movement of Russian diplomats, citing Russia's hybrid war against the EU.

Peace Summit in Switzerland

A peace conference on Ukraine is set for June 15-16 at the Swiss resort of Bürgenstock. Over 160 delegations were invited, excluding Russia "at this stage," though Switzerland acknowledges that Russia's involvement is crucial for the peace process.

Switzerland, a neutral country, strongly denounces Russia's aggression against Ukraine and sees the Bürgenstock summit as the beginning of peace efforts.

As of May 15, Switzerland announced that more than 50 countries confirmed their participation in the summit. Subsequently, other countries such as Georgia, Malawi, Portugal, Liechtenstein, Croatia, India, Romania, Austria, Albania, Chile, Greece, Norway, North Macedonia, and Ivory Coast also confirmed their attendance.

On May 26, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that over 80 countries have confirmed their participation in the Peace Summit.

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