Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Summons Swiss and Dutch Envoys Over Spying Allegations

French Ambassador to the U.N. Gerard Araud / Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the ambassadors of Switzerland and the Netherlands in Moscow over what it said were "unsubstantiated accusations" that Russian spies had attempted to hack a Swiss laboratory.

Dutch and Swiss media reported late last week that two Russians had been detained earlier this year over a plot to spy on a Swiss laboratory analyzing chemical and biological weapons, including the Novichok nerve agent. Following the reports, which were confirmed by the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, Bern demanded on Tuesday that Russia cease spying activities on its territory.

In a statement on Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the allegations of espionage “unsubstantiated” and said such "confrontational rhetoric" could seriously harm otherwise constructive ties between the two countries.

In a separate statement, the ministry said Dutch Ambassador Renee Jones-Bos had been summoned “in connection to the continued campaign fanning spy mania.”

The statement warned of “the inadmissibility of provocations through the media.”

Reuters contributed reporting.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.