Russians suspected of Swiss lab break

Dutch expelled Russian spies over alleged novichok lab hacking plot

The lab, based near Bern, the capital of Switzerland, was testing the military-grade nerve agent used in the attempted assassination attempt of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

In a statement to The Moscow Times, a spokesperson for Switzerland's Federal Intelligence Service (FIS), Isabelle Graber, confirmed it had worked with its Dutch and British counterparts in the case.

The men were arrested in The Hague as part of an operation involving British, Swiss and Dutch intelligence agencies.

The Swiss confirmation came after Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that two Russians suspected of being agents of military intelligence service GRU were kicked out of the Netherlands earlier this year as a result of a Europe-wide investigation.

"The NDB has thus contributed to preventing illegal activity targeting critical Swiss infrastructure". Bucher said he did not know about the Russians being identified, detained or expelled from the Netherlands.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov responded with derision to reports that two suspected Russian spies had been arrested and expelled, claiming he has received no information from the Dutch government.

Switzerland's foreign ministry said it summoned Russia's ambassador on Friday to "protest against this attempted attack" and demanded that Russian Federation "immediately" end its spying activities on Swiss soil.

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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.

He said no data had been stolen. According to a report in April by the Russian news agency TASS, Lavrov received information "confidentially" that Spiez found traces of USA chemical warfare agents in the samples.

The OPCW declined to comment, citing confidentiality.

"We believe that this is a new anti-Russian bogus story made up by the Western media", Smirnov was quoted as saying.

"We have seen this article and it gives rise to a lot of questions".

The report says the two men had equipment that could have been used to break into the laboratory's computer systems, and also alleged that they worked for Russian intelligence. Russian Federation rejects the allegations by Britain, with Vladimir Putin saying that the two men are just ordinary citizens, according to the BBC. Zanders believes they may have been trying to hack into the Spiez Laboratory computer system to learn more about what British and global authorities knew about the Novichok used in the Salisbury attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Sergei Skripal, who spied for Russia and then Britain, a traitor for selling state secrets.

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