The majority of the Swiss parliament has rejected a proposed law that would have allowed the transfer of Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine. Jean-Luc Addor, a member of the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party, the largest bloc in the National Council, stated that approving this initiative would mean “violating neutrality.”
The vote took place in the Swiss parliament on the same day that Swiss President Alain Berset met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, during a summit of the European political group in Moldova.
Out of the members of the National Council in Bern, 98 voted against the parliamentary initiative prepared by a committee, while 75 members voted in favor.
Switzerland has long adhered to the principle of neutrality in military conflicts, with a population of 8.8 million people, no access to the sea, and still maintaining compulsory military service for men.
A heated debate has been ongoing in Switzerland regarding the principle of neutrality since the start of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in February 2022.
Despite pressure from Kyiv and its allies, Switzerland has not yet allowed countries that possess Swiss-made weapons to supply them to Ukraine.
Requests from Germany, Spain, and Denmark have been explicitly rejected so far, citing the “War Materiel Act,” which prohibits re-exports if the recipient country is involved in an armed conflict.
During the summit in Moldova, Kyiv and Chisinau urged European leaders to provide further support in the face of Russian aggression.
Berset announced in a tweet that he had a meeting with Zelensky regarding the situation on the ground, Swiss humanitarian aid, and reconstruction efforts.
Swiss state television reported that the meeting lasted 25 minutes.
Berset stated in an interview with Swiss television that he discussed with the Ukrainian president issues related to asset freezes, Switzerland’s role in mine clearance, and the country’s stance on arms re-export.
Berset added, “I believe that Ukrainians understand Switzerland’s position very well,” expressing his willingness to visit Ukraine at any time.
The Swiss president emphasized, “We are applying our laws. We have shown from the beginning that we are not indifferent to what is happening and that we stand firmly by Ukraine’s side.”
Berset stated, “The most important thing today is for us to be united and not to tolerate what is happening in eastern Ukraine.”