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Swiss Parliament approves expulsion of Russian spies before Ukraine peace summit

Swiss Parliament approves expulsion of Russian spies before Ukraine peace summit Switzerland will expel Russian spies without restrictions (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Switzerland's upper house of parliament has backed a proposal to toughen measures for expelling spies, with a particular focus on Russian intelligence agents, as Bern prepares to host a major summit aimed at paving the way for peace in Ukraine, citing Reuters.

Lawmakers in the upper house supported the proposal, which includes the formulation "systematically expel Russian spies and other foreign spies," endorsed by President Viola Amherd in her address to parliament.

"Foreign states should feel Switzerland is reacting to violations of its security and defending itself," Amherd said two weeks before her government is set to host dozens of countries for peace talks concerning Ukraine.

Amherd said the government aims to consistently expel intelligence officers whose activities jeopardize Switzerland's security or its role as a host state, emphasizing that the proposal would not lead to automatic decisions.

Franziska Roth, a lawmaker from the center-left Social Democrats and a supporter of the measure, stated that neutral Switzerland is a magnet for spies due to the concentration of international organizations in the country. According to domestic intelligence services, this is particularly true for Russian spies, she added. Arguing that Switzerland needs to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy towards espionage, Roth said this proposal should help strengthen the mechanisms for controlling and expelling spies.

Since the proposal was already supported by the lower house in December, the government now has to act in accordance with it.

On June 15-16, Switzerland will host a summit near the city of Lucerne, which it hopes will pave the way for a future peace process regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Over 150 countries are expected to participate in the peace summit, with invitations already sent out.

Russia has not yet been invited to the summit. Switzerland explains this by stating that Moscow has repeatedly expressed disinterest in participating.