Undermining Ukraine’s Advancement Efforts
Swiss ambassador to Berlin Paul Rene Seger said he was surprised by the “extent of the criticism that is raining down” on his country over Switzerland’s ban on reexporting ammunition for Germany’s Leopard (or Gepard) tanks to Ukraine. Germany has delivered dozens of the Leopard tanks to the country together with around 60,000 rounds of ammunition. However, Berlin would need Switzerland’s approval to deliver another 12,000 anti-aircraft shots which were made in Switzerland. Talking to Germany’s Augsburger Allgemeine daily, Seger defended Switzerland’s policy of not exporting weapons to countries that are involved in conflicts. “The impression is being given that Switzerland is complicit if Putin wins the war. But 12,000 rounds will not influence, let alone decide the war,” Seger told the paper. He pointed to Switzerland’s long-running tradition of neutrality, which is one of the basic principles of Swiss foreign policy. “For us it’s a part of the DNA,” he said.
Until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany had a very similar policy about not sending weapons to hot conflicts as Switzerland’s and often faced criticism in 2022 for its perceived reluctance to provide weaponry for Kyiv.
European countries boosted their military spending by 13% in 2022, the biggest jump in 30 years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading global security think tank. Military spending has also increased worldwide, by 3.7%.
With Russia launching its full-scale invasion in February last year, Ukraine boosted its military spending by nearly six and a half times to $44 billion (around €40 billion), though it also received massive amounts of foreign military aid. The US alone has pledged over 43.2 billion in military aid, according to Germany’s Kiel Institute. In turn, Russia boosted its own military budget by only 10%, to $86.4 billion.
Credit to : DW News