Russians Planned Attack on Lab Testing Salisbury Nerve Agent, Swiss Say

The Spiez laboratory is part of the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection, which falls under the Swiss Defense Department, and is the designated lab in Switzerland for several international organizations, including the United Nations.

The lab was one of two designated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to provide independent analysis of the poison used against Mr. Skripal. The organization, which monitors compliance with a global treaty on chemical weapons, confirmed the British conclusion that the chemical belonged to a class of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union, known as Novichok.

The lab also analyzed samples from the chemical attack near Damascus, Syria, in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 people. The United Nations concluded that the toxin in that attack was another nerve agent, sarin. Western governments have said it was used by forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which Russia supports in the Syrian civil war.

Workers at the Spiez lab need security clearances and most are Swiss nationals, though some are foreign fellows or visiting researchers, according to Mr. Bucher, the spokesman.

“We have indications of several attacks against our institutions, including possible cyber attacks in the last few months,” Mr. Bucher said. “But we took the necessary precautions and haven’t been compromised.”

Mr.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/world/europe/russians-salisbury-swiss-lab-sabotage.html

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