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Swiss President reiterates support for Ukraine arms ban

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2023 12:40 AM 1 min read

Swiss President Alain Berset reiterated his support for Switzerland’s ban on supplying Ukraine with Swiss-made weapons.

“Swiss weapons must not be used in wars,” he told NZZ am Sonntag on March 12.

He emphasized his belief in Switzerland’s neutral stance amid Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, saying it “does not mean indifference” and can “adjust.”

While Switzerland has gone along with the European Union’s sanctions efforts against Russia, it has remained stubborn regarding its military neutrality.

On March 11, Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported that Switzerland is getting rid of outdated Rapier surface-to-air missiles that could have been used by Ukraine to shoot down low-flying targets.

According to a spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Office for Defense Procurement (Armasuisse), all Rapier short-range anti-aircraft missile systems will be dismantled.

On Feb. 10, the Swiss government barred Spain from transferring Swiss-made anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine.

On Feb. 15, the Swiss government said that confiscating Russian assets goes against the country’s constitution and could “violate Switzerland’s international obligations.”

Despite the Swiss government’s inflexibility, a survey in Switzerland by research group Sotomo found that 55% of respondents are in favor of ending a ban on the export of Swiss weapons to war zones, particularly Ukraine.

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“We truly need popular support, especially during wartime. Being not dependent on a single money bag telling journalists what to do has always been quite a task in Ukraine. In wartime, that’s even more important.”
Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter
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