Swiss parliament rejects amendments allowing re-export of arms to Ukraine

The lower house of Switzerland voted against a proposal to make exceptions to the law on military equipment, which prohibits the supply of Swiss weapons to countries with active hostilities. This was reported by the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. The amendments allowed for the re-export of weapons to Ukraine.

The meeting took place on Thursday, June 1st. 98 members of the lower house voted against the exception, 75 voted in favor. According to the BBC, the representative of the largest right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party in parliament, Jean-Luc Addor, said that allowing re-exports to a howling country violates the country’s neutrality.

According to Tages-Anzeiger, there are several initiatives in the Swiss Parliament that propose to allow re-export. One of the proposals concerns changing the validity period of non-re-export declarations signed when purchasing weapons. It is also proposed to allow the country’s Federal Council to allow re-exports if the UN Security Council determines the existence of a war of aggression that violates international law.

In April 2022, Germany twice asked Switzerland for permission to supply the Armed Forces of Ukraine with ammunition for the German BMP Marder. Also in July of the same year, Denmark asked to send about 20 Piranha III infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. The Swiss authorities refused, citing the country’s neutrality. In February 2023, Switzerland also refused to allow Spain to re-export air defense systems to Ukraine.

In March 2023, Parliament suspended consideration of a proposal to allow European countries to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition produced in Switzerland. That same month, parliamentarians delayed consideration of any changes to re-export rules until May. In mid-May, the profile commission considered it possible to re-export, subject to a number of conditions.

Olesya Pavlenko


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