Dutch ousted Russians for alleged attempt to hack Swiss lab
Dutch ousted Russians for alleged attempt to hack Swiss lab
Labor Spiez The Labor Spiez laboratory in Switzerland
16 September, 2018, 15:01
Several Western countries expelled Russian officials, and denounced the attack as a violation of worldwide norms, like Russia's aggression in Ukraine, its interference in other countries' elections, and assassinations and cyber attacks carried out overseas.
Unnamed interlocutors of these publications claim that the Russians were heading to Switzerland to get the data of the laboratory in Spiez, which, among other things, helps to investigate the chemical attack in Syria and the poisoning of Sergey and Julia the Violinist in the British Salisbury.
Authorities in the Netherlands detained two Russian nationals earlier this year who were suspected of planning a break-in at a Swiss lab that is investigating the poison attack on Sergei Skripal in the English town of Salisbury, according to Dutch and Swiss reports.
Tages-Anzeiger said the two men were arrested in The Hague during the spring, but the exact location and timing were unclear.
"The Swiss authorities are aware of the case of Russian spies discovered in The Hague and expelled from the same place", Isabelle Graber, head of communications for the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, said in a statement to Britain's The Guardian.
"The NDB has thus contributed to preventing illegal activity targeting critical Swiss infrastructure".
The Swiss attorney general's office confirmed it had identified "two individuals" as part of a broader investigation opened past year.
Switzerland's Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the attempted attack.
But Russia's top diplomat scoffed at the time it took for the case to come to public light.
In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov named Spiez as one of the labs conducting the OPCW's analysis.
The Russian state news agency Tass quoted Stanislav Smirnov, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Switzerland, as calling the Dutch news report 'absurd'. Russian Federation rejects the allegations by Britain, with Vladimir Putin saying that the two men are just ordinary citizens, according to the BBC.
The Dutch defence department declined to comment.
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A spokeswoman for the Swiss Attorney General's Office confirmed to AFP that the individuals linked to the alleged hack at WADA's Swiss office "are those affected by the operation mentioned by the Federal Intelligence Service" in connection with the Spiez laboratory attack.
"We have indications of several attacks against our institutions, including possible cyber attacks in the last few months", Bucher said.
Bucher also wouldn't comment on whether the lab analyzed samples linked to the Skripal case, saying it was "contractually bound" to confidentiality in its work for the United Nations -supported Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The men will also be charged with possession of novichok, a deadly Soviet-era poison that's banned by the Chemical Weapons Act.
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