| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

‘Neutral’ Switzerland blocks big arms sale to Ukraine, boosts Russian fortunes in ongoing war

In a major snub to Ukraine’s war-effort against Russia, Switzerland blocked Bern-headquartered Ruag AG from selling nearly 100 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, it was revealed on Wednesday. The blocking of the sale, however, is not related to a separate sale of 25 Leopard 1 tanks of the Swiss army to the German company Rheinmetall AG, Bloomberg reported.
The Swiss cabinet said that such a sale would be contrary to the war material act and would entail an adjustment of Switzerland’s neutrality policy. The country’s current rules don’t allow for weapons manufactured in Switzerland to be delivered to countries at war or in an armed conflict.

In November 2022, the country imposed an embargo on Swiss munitions being sent to either Russia or Ukraine.

What exactly does Switzerland’s blocking of Leopard 1 tanks entail?
The rejection reportedly applies to 96 non-operational Leopard 1 tanks. These tanks, while belonging to the Swiss arms manufacturer Ruag AG, are currently stored at a facility in Italy.

It was proposed that the tanks would be refurbished in Germany and then sent to Ukraine.

Switzerland blocks arms sale to Ukraine: Why?
The Swiss government said that the arms sale request to Ukraine from a country-headquartered manufacturer is “inconsistent with applicable law”, pointing to the principle of the Swiss neutrality — one of the main principles of Switzerland’s foreign policy which dictates that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed or political conflicts between other states.
This policy is self-imposed and designed to ensure external security and promote peace.

But the Swiss are some of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers and suppliers.

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