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Swiss-made armored vehicle spotted on battlefield in Donbas, despite claims that Switzerland never sent weapons to Ukraine

Eagle 1
Swiss-made armored vehicle Eagle 1 in the Donbas region, eastern Ukraine. Credit: Aris Messinis/AFP

An armored vehicle Eagle 1 produced by the Swiss company Mowag was spotted on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, according to Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

Switzerland is a neutral country that refuses to provide Ukraine with military aid due to the national doctrine that forbids the Swiss government to send weapons to war zones. The Swiss government plans to start an investigation in order to find out how the Swiss-made military equipment ended up being used by the Ukrainian military on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, according to Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

Photos of the armored vehicle Eagle 1 with Ukrainian soldiers in it were taken in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine. The Spanish photographer Jose Colon took a photo of the Eagle 1 in mid-February 2023 in the small eastern Ukrainian town of Chasiv Yar, some 15 kilometers southwest of Bakhmut, according to Neue Zurcher Zeitung. Colon first published the photo on his Instagram as part of a series documenting the desolation of the devastated village on the frontlines in Ukraine.

Another photo of the Eagle 1 was taken by the AFP photographer Aris Messinis on 18 March 2023 in Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine. Both Avdiivka and Chasiv Yar are located at the front of the Russo-Ukrainian war. It is unknown, however, whether the Eagle 1 spotted in Chasiv Yar is the same one that was seen in Avdiivka.

Earlier before, Switzerland prohibited European states from re-exporting Swiss-made military equipment to Ukraine. Thus, it is not clear how the Swiss armored vehicle Eagle 1 was delivered to Ukraine.

Switzerland keeps neutrality policy, barring weapons exports to Ukraine

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, which is responsible for issuing re-export licenses, confirmed to broadcaster SRF on Thursday that Denmark purchased 36 armored vehicles Eagle 1 about 30 years ago. Later 27 of those vehicles were sold to a private German company.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs added that the German company signed a non-re-export declaration, and no requests for the transfer of Eagle 1 vehicles have ever been sent to Switzerland. Denmark also stated that it did not transfer any Eagle 1 vehicles purchased in Switzerland to Ukraine.

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