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Zelensky asks for arms in address to Swiss parliament

by Martin Fornusek June 15, 2023 9:08 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the world's environmental protection community on the issue of Russia's ecocide through the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on June 8, 2023. (Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine)
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In his June 15 address to Switzerland's parliament, President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the country for sanctioning Russia and asked for military assistance, the news agency Swissinfo wrote.

Zelensky thanked Switzerland for adopting the EU's sanctions against Russia, as well as for providing humanitarian aid. He has called on the country's leadership to host a global peace summit to facilitate the end of the war.

"Thank you, dear Switzerland, for not remaining indifferent to the suffering," Zelensky said at the beginning of his speech.

The president brought up the ongoing debate in the Swiss parliament on the re-export of the Swiss weapons arsenal, reminding Ukraine's own need for military aid.

"I would like to call on you to remember one fact: We are asking for arms deliveries so that Ukrainian soil can become a territory of peace again."

Ukraine to receive billions in military aid after Ramstein summit
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on June 15 that the U.S., the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Norway, and Italy pledged new military aid packages to Ukraine at the 13th Ramstein-format summit of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) in Brussels.

Following Switzerland's long-term neutrality policy, the country's law does not currently allow the delivery of Swiss weapons to combat zones, even when supplied by an intermediary country.

Easing these measures would open the door for re-exporting these weapons to Ukraine.

While members of the parliament's upper house recommended easing the restrictions on May 12, the lower house blocked the motion on June 2.

The discussion about the transfer still continues, and media indicates that Switzerland plans to sell 25 of its decommissioned Leopard 2 tanks to Germany, paving the way for further transfer to Ukraine.

After Zelensky's speech, Brigitte Häberli-Koller, the president of the parliament's upper house, said: "Even a neutral state has the right, indeed the duty, to stand up for its fundamental values ​​such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights."

Members of the right-wing Swiss People's Party left the room during the speech, saying it violates the country's tradition of neutrality.

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