Switzerland blocked delivery of ammunition used by German Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Swiss newspaper says
Switzerland is said to have thwarted German plans to re-export Swiss-made ammunition to Ukraine, local media reported on Sunday, citing the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). The Alpine nation cited its neutrality status and legislation banning arms deliveries to conflict zones.
Düsseldorf-based German auto and weapons maker Rheinmetall, which builds Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for the German military, uses Swiss-produced ammunition, according to German media. This fact has apparently appeared as a stumbling block to Berlin’s latest plans to supply Ukraine with ammunition.
“Seco has received two requests from Germany to pass ammunition [it] previously received from Switzerland to Ukraine”, the secretariat confirmed to the Swiss newspaper Sonntags Zeitung on Sunday. The two requests “were rejected with a reference to Swiss neutrality and the binding rejection criteria of military equipment legislation”, added the Swiss authorities.
Swiss law requires Bern to give its consent to any re-export of arms and prohibits arms shipments to conflict zones. Switzerland joined anti-Russian sanctions in a rare departure from its policy of strict neutrality after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine, but it has always been adamant in its neutrality regarding any military aid to Ukraine. .
According to the media, the Swiss veto on the re-export of ammunition has angered Germany because it would have made it impossible to send IFV Marder to Ukraine. However, Berlin never officially announced such plans.
The German government has been criticized by other NATO members, especially Poland, for not doing enough to support Ukraine. The question even caused some tension within the cabinet.
Earlier in April, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would only send “fair and reasonable” arms to kyiv, adding that there were no plans to send “offensive” weapons, such as tanks, which Ukraine has repeatedly demanded. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock then urged the West to supply kyiv with heavy weapons and appeared to criticize Scholz, pointing out that “Now is not the time to make excuses.”
Initially, Berlin supplied Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. In mid-March, Germany said that due to security risks it would no longer release information on arms deliveries to Ukraine. In mid-April, Berlin announced it would allocate an additional $2.1 billion for military spending, most of which is to help Ukraine.
On Saturday, however, a group of politicians and public figures, including former MPs and a former UN deputy secretary-general, called on Berlin to end all military aid to Ukraine and to try to convince kyiv to abandon its military resistance in the name of peace and dialogue.
Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk Donbass. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
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