"There is nothing extraordinary in the fact that sometimes we or our Swiss partners reject one or another candidate for filling a vacant position in diplomatic missions. This is a common practice in relations between almost all countries. Such issues are decided and we solve them at the working level. Fueling a diplomatic scandal here is fundamentally wrong and does not correspond to the diplomatic decency. It also makes no sense to try to talk with us in a pushy manner through the media," Garmonin said.
Russian Ambassador to Switzerland Sergei Garmonin stated that there was no objective reason to assume that Switzerland might impose sanctions against Russia over the scandal.
"I think that there are no objective grounds for such far-reaching assumptions. Such a step would be contrary to Bern's declared neutrality policy and would cause serious damage to the Russian-Swiss ties," he said.
"As for the current inflammatory rhetoric about our country here, as well as the previous unsubstantiated Russophobic accusations from the so-called independent journalists, unfortunately, we must state that there is an explicit political order. I think that certain well-known circles, who are trying to force Switzerland to change the traditional, independent and neutral approach to the international affairs and take a more confrontational attitude towards Russia, are behind these 'revelations," he said.
On Monday, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said that Bern has tightened the procedure for accreditation of Russian diplomats due to the suspicions of illegal activities.
The Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported last week that earlier this year, two Russian nationals had been arrested in the Netherlands on charges of espionage and then deported to Russia. The media alleged that the suspects had tried to spy on a laboratory engaged in nuclear, biological and chemical research, but their plot was foiled by a joint operation by Swiss, Dutch and UK intelligence.