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The War In Ukraine Puts Swiss Neutrality To The Test

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is testing Switzerland’s longstanding tolerance for standing on the sidelines and serving the world’s elite on equal terms, putting the country in a bind of competing interests and leading to accusations that it is pursuing “a neutrality of economic benefit, New York Times reports.
” Switzerland’s arms industry makes badly needed ammunition for some of the weapons that Europeans have supplied to Ukraine, as well as some of the Leopard 2 main battle tanks they have promised. But there are strict rules on where those weapons can go: One law, now the subject of heated debate, bans the country from selling Swiss arms to any nation at war — or from selling them to be re-exported to be used in conflict. This has left Swiss arms makers unable to sell to Western customers that intend to use them in Ukraine, which the companies say could make it impossible to maintain relations with critical customers. European neighbors are pulling the Swiss in one direction, while a centuries-old tradition of neutrality which is supported by 90 percent of Switzerland’s 8.7 million people — pulls in another. “Being a neutral state that exports weapons is what got Switzerland into this situation,” said Oliver Diggelmann, an international law professor at the University of Zurich. “It wants to export weapons to do business. It wants to assert control over those weapons. And it also wants to be the good guy. This is where our country is stumbling now.”

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