Switzerland’s Intelligence agency says Russia has kept dozens of spies disguised as diplomats at its embassy and its mission to the United Nations in Geneva, making the Alpine nation a hotspot for Russian espionage activity in Europe.
Russia’s intelligence activities in Europe and North America have been weakened by the expulsion of Russian agents posing as diplomats following the Skripal incident in 2018 and the invasion of Ukraine last year, the NDB spy agency said in its annual report published on Monday. Their numbers have dwindled. Remains stable in Switzerland.
“Of the approximately 220 people recognized as diplomatic or technical-administrative personnel in diplomatic and consular representations in Geneva and Bern, at least a third are still active for Russian intelligence agencies,” the report said.
“Across Europe, Switzerland is one of the states where the largest number of Russian intelligence personnel are deployed under diplomatic cover, including through its role as a host country for international organizations,” the NDB said.
China’s diplomatic missions in Switzerland are also believed to have dozens of spies, the agency said, but their number is much smaller than in Russia.
It says that scientists, journalists and businessmen are more likely to be spies in disguise in China.