After being removed from almost half of their foreign delegations, Russian spy rings appear to be “flourishing” in Switzerland for Vladimir Putin, a new report claims.
According to the Daily Star, almost 80 of Russia’s agents, or about one-fifth of Putin’s spies in Europe are now believed to be working in Switzerland.
Because of Switzerland’s longstanding diplomatic neutrality, there are concerns that the country provides spies with a convenient hub to establish extensive spy networks throughout Europe.
After having to reassign several of its intelligence officers, Russia is suspected of using cities like Bern and Geneva as new bases.
Around half of Russia's foreign delegations were relocated from their host countries after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as reported by Sir Richard Moore, the head of MI6 in the United Kingdom.
In November 2022, Ken McCallum, the head of MI5, said, “This has struck the most significant strategic blow against the Russian Intelligence Services in recent European history.”
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While that may have been true, new data from the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service shows an increase in the presence of Russian spies in the country, the Daily Star reported.
Switzerland has open borders with the rest of Europe, so critics have been concerned that spy networks that have been kicked out of other countries would start running their networks from the country.
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Swiss intelligence said Putin’s spy rings were “flourishing” in their country last year and now a new report in Neue Zürcher Zeitung claimed Russians have only increased their numbers this year, according to the Daily Star.
The presence of Russian agents is causing concerns in Switzerland. Swiss National Assembly member Fabian Molina, noted: “These foreign agents threaten Switzerland’s internal and external security.”
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