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Swiss Parliament’s committee advances $ 5.5 bn Ukraine aid despite political divide

A Swiss parliamentary committee greenlights voting on $5.5 billion in aid for Ukraine’s infrastructure, embedded in the country’s military spending.
Building of Switzerland’s Federal Assembly. Photo:
Swiss Parliament’s committee advances $ 5.5 bn Ukraine aid despite political divide

On 25 April, a Swiss parliamentary committee approved a 5 billion Swiss franc ($5.5 billion) aid contribution for Ukraine’s infrastructure reconstruction, according to Reuters. The decision, part of a broader package, also includes an additional 10.1 billion francs for the Swiss army, supported by lawmakers from center-left and center-right parties.

Switzerland refuses to supply weapons to Ukraine due to its commitment to military neutrality, a cornerstone of its foreign policy, aimed at avoiding involvement in foreign conflicts. Despite this stance, Switzerland supports EU sanctions against Russia and provides humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Reuters highlights that despite passing by 8 votes to 5, the plan still faces several parliamentary hurdles before becoming law, with opposition from right-wing parties. The Ukraine segment aims to support essential infrastructure reconstruction for daily life, as stated by the Swiss Federal Assembly (parliament) in a statement.

A motion that adds the Ukraine aid funding was published on the Swiss Parliament’s website, envisaging the creation of a temporary fund:

This fund will make it possible to finance all the additional financial requirements from 2025 of CHF 10.1 billion for upgrading the [Swiss] army’s armaments up to 2030, as well as the Swiss contribution of CHF 5 billion to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the infrastructure necessary for daily life and survival in Ukraine,” it reads.

The Parliament’s press release notes that the majority sees both issues mentioned in the motion as stemming from Europe’s security decline amid the war ongoing in Ukraine, deeming this the sole way to secure political unity. The minority believes the issues are separate and questions the need for extraordinary spending amid Europe’s security concerns.

Switzerland abstains from weapon supply to Ukraine but backs EU sanctions and aid efforts

In January, Swiss Confederation President Viola Amherd announced Switzerland’s commitment to allocate approximately $1.75 billion for Ukraine’s reconstruction from 2025 to 2028.

Recently, Switzerland announced plans for an international Peace Summit on Ukraine on 15-16 June at the Bürgenstock hotel. The conference aims to foster dialogue for a comprehensive peace solution, aligning with international law and the UN Charter. Switzerland organized the summit at the request of the Ukrainian President, who did not want Russia involved in this initial meeting.

Last December, the Swiss government froze around $8.81 billion worth of Russian financial assets, while in March, Swiss lawmakers narrowly backed moves towards allowing the use of these frozen Russian state assets to fund war reparations in Ukraine.

Last September, the Swiss government approved a package of approximately $109 million to aid in clearing landmines and other explosive ordnance in Ukraine over the next four years.

Meanwhile, Switzerland avoids any military aid for Ukraine, adhering to its neutrality policies. Last summer, the country’s government or the Federal Council rejected an application by Ruag AG to sell 96 Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks for use in Ukraine, citing legal contradictions and prioritizing neutrality principles.

Before the Council’s final decision, the Security Policy Committee of the Swiss Parliament recommended easing the re-export of Swiss-produced military equipment to Ukraine. The National Council, Parliament’s lower chamber, rejected the proposal citing neutrality concerns, but the upper house — the Council of States — later voted to unblock the re-export of Swiss-made weapons, prompting the final decision by the Federal Council, Switzerland’s federal cabinet.

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