Switzerland a Hub for Russian, Chinese Spies, Says Bern

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made Switzerland — home to several international organisations — a hub for Russian and Chinese espionage, the Swiss intelligence service said Monday.

“Russia has destroyed the rules-based order for peace in Europe,” the Federal Intelligence Service said in its annual report. The FIS is in charge of Switzerland’s counter-intelligence.

“The effectiveness of international forums for maintaining peace and security, such as the UN or the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, has continued to decline; there are no signs of a stable new world order, ” the FIS said.

Overall, Switzerland’s security picture is being shaped by the growing rivalry between the major powers, which has been heightened by the war in Ukraine.

The FIS said it was shifting towards a bipolar world order shaped by the systemic rivalry between the United States and China.

But for the moment, Russia’s war in Ukraine would remain the focal point in Switzerland’s security environment.

“The threat to Switzerland posed by foreign (mainly Russian and Chinese) espionage remains high,” the FIS said.

“In Europe, Switzerland is one of the states with the highest numbers of Russian intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover, in part due to its role as a host to international organisations.”

The United Nations’ European headquarters is located in Geneva, as are the headquarters of several UN agencies.

Hundreds of diplomats gather in the city to take part in those bodies’ various meetings.

Switzerland’s current first-ever spell on the UN Security Council “increases the espionage threat for Swiss individuals” working on the UNSC dossiers and presenting decisions, said the FIS.

The service said the war in Ukraine was forcing it to extend its monitoring to regions that had hitherto received little attention, such as Turkey, India and the Eurasian Economic Union, as Russia was using companies in such nations for procurement.

Source : Zawya