Despite a long commitment to a policy of non-intervention and external neutrality, after the launch of a special military operation (SVO) of Russia to protect the Donbass, Switzerland decided to support Kyiv. On February 26, this position was voiced by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, in her Telegram channel.
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As examples of Switzerland’s departure from the policy of neutrality, she listed a number of episodes that indicate support for Kyiv. In particular, Bern officially condemned the SVO, supported EU sanctions, blocked the accounts of a number of individuals and legal entities from the Russian Federation, and also banned the provision of services to the Russian government.
In addition, as Zakharova noted, Bern is actively training fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and also facilitating migration procedures for Ukrainian refugees and initiating the provision of financial assistance to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“And a lot of other things that in Bern are not considered a departure from neutrality, but logic suggests the opposite,” summed up the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Earlier, on February 25, Zakharova announced that Switzerland cannot be a mediator in negotiations on the Ukrainian crisis and provide its platform due to the fact that it has already joined the sanctions against the Russian Federation. She also stressed that by his decree of September 30, 2022, Zelensky legally banned negotiations with the Russian leadership.
Prior to that, on February 23, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said that negotiations were underway in Geneva on the situation in Ukraine. He stressed that the country is accepting negotiations in an atmosphere of “maximum discretion.” The diplomat did not provide details. He added that Switzerland always offers its good offices, meaning mediation in the field of diplomacy to resolve crises.
In August 2022, Ivan Nechaev, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, noted that Switzerland could not represent the interests of Kyiv in Moscow and Moscow in Kiev, as it had lost its neutrality status. He stressed that the country is participating in an aggressive Russophobic campaign launched by the West and Ukraine.