Switzerland forbids Germany from sending Swiss ammunition to Ukraine

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 3 Nov, 2022 Updated Thu 3 Nov 2022 14:22 CEST
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A sign in Berlin says 'stop the war' during a demo against Russian aggression in March 2022. Photo by Karollyne Hubert on Unsplash

Traditionally neutral Switzerland on Thursday banned Germany from sending to Ukraine any Swiss-made ammunition used by anti-aircraft-gun tanks that Berlin wants to dispatch to the war-torn country to help repel the Russian invasion.

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht wrote to the Swiss government in Bern in October asking if Germany could give 12,400 pieces of Swiss-made ammunition for anti-aircraft tanks that Berlin had already supplied to Ukraine to aid the country's war effort against Russia. 

But Switzerland pushed back, citing the country's neutrality principle.

"There is no reason to reply favourably to the German request to transmit Swiss military equipment to Ukraine," Economic Affairs Minister, Guy Parmelin, explained in a letter to Lambrecht.

"Under the principle of equal treatment in neutrality law, Switzerland cannot agree to a request for the transfer of war materiel of Swiss origin to Ukraine as long as the latter is involved in an international armed conflict.

"As the legal situation remains unchanged, approval of a transfer of Swiss war materiel by Germany to Ukraine is still not possible."

The Swiss government gave a similar response on behalf in June for previous requests.

The ammunition was supplied to the Bundeswehr (German army) several years ago - but only on the condition that Germany could not export the weapons without Swiss approval.

On Wednesday, Switzerland agreed to provide $100 million in aid to Ukraine to help provide drinking water and rehabilitate damaged energy infrastructure as winter approaches.

Switzerland’s commitment to neutrality is centred on a pledge for military neutrality, which breaks only if Switzerland is attacked. 

This pledge of military neutrality does not extend to political neutrality, which allows Switzerland to support sanctions efforts on Russia. 

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland rejected a German arms delivery to Ukraine

Some Swiss politicians believe this to be  a step too far, but President Ignazio Cassis has repeatedly defended the decision.
  

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AFP/The Local 2022/11/03 14:22

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