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Why does Switzerland not allow Germany to deliver ammunition to Ukraine?

Switzerland recently rejected two German proposals for the transfer of Swiss-made ammunition to Ukraine, a move that sparked a debate over Switzerland’s principle of neutrality.

Switzerland’s State Economic Affairs Commission (SECO), which has the final say on the issuance and signing of arms export permits, confirmed the request was made by German authorities. Germany wanted to know “whether ammunition received from Switzerland could be transferred to Ukraine”, and received the answer “no” because “regarding Swiss neutrality and the mandatory rejection standard of religion”. Swiss war materials law,” SECO media spokesman Michael Wüthrich told DW Radio.

Why does Switzerland not allow Germany to deliver ammunition to Ukraine?  - 1 . photo

Soldiers of the pro-Russian forces load ammunition onto an armored personnel carrier in the city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, April 12.


Strict export rules

For the export of any war material, Switzerland generally requires the receiving country to undertake not to re-export. According to that declaration, the receiving country of war material would not transfer it to another country without the prior consent of Switzerland. This is an internationally recognized procedure.

“Ukraine is involved in a conflict with Russia. Accordingly, since the export of war materials from Switzerland to Ukraine will not be authorized, the lifting of the duty not to re-export of the German Armed Forces to allow the transfer of ammunition previously received may be Swiss origin is also excluded,” emphasized spokesman Wüthrich.

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The principle of neutrality is the main pillar in policy Switzerland’s security and diplomacy means it cannot get involved in a war between two other countries and cannot provide indirect military assistance to either side to the conflict.

In addition, Swiss domestic law regarding arms exports and foreign policy principles are based on the Swiss War Materials Act which “controls the production and transfer of war materials and technology relate to”.

Jean-Marc Ricklich of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, said that in terms of Switzerland’s principle of neutrality, “agreeing to export ammunition to Ukraine would be a violation of international law as well as Swiss domestic law. Si”.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Center party in Switzerland has a different view, saying that the Swiss government can trigger article 184.3 of the constitution to pass the relevant bill if the interests of a state are taken into account. above.

Laurent Goetschel, professor of political science at the University of Basel (Switzerland), thinks the scope of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is making Switzerland’s neutrality even more interesting.

Russia-Ukraine War Leads to Change?

The war in Ukraine has led to a number of policy changes in several countries, including Germany. On April 26, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced that the country would allow the sending of tanks to Ukraine, marking a clear change in Germany’s policy on support. military for Kyiv, according to AFP.

Germany will provide 1 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine

In Sweden and Finland, both following the principle of neutrality, the change is more pronounced, when the two countries may join NATO next month.

In Switzerland, there has also been recent movement from politicians from left and right parties calling for increased cooperation with NATO. However, there is almost no debate about the possibility of Switzerland joining NATO and there are no indications that Switzerland intends to join the bloc, according to DW.

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