Ex-NATO chief criticises Swiss stance over ammunition to Ukraine


Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned that Switzerland’s refusal to supply ammunition for Ukraine will have repercussions.

In an interview published in the newspapers of the CH Media Group on Saturday, Rasmussen said that he does not understand the Swiss government’s decision to deny Ukraine access to Swiss-made ammunition. The re-export of the 35mm anti-aircraft shells, originally supplied by Swiss companies to the German army decades ago, was ruled out by the Swiss government. 

“Switzerland has surprised me incredibly, but not in a good way,” said Rasmussen. “Europe is in an existential struggle between democracy and autocracy,” he continued. “No country in the world can remain neutral. It makes no sense”. 

By not allowing Germany to supply Ukraine with urgently needed Swiss ammunition, Switzerland is hampering German efforts, according to Rasmussen. This decision will certainly have repercussions for Switzerland, he said.

 “NATO members will think twice before entrusting the production of munitions or other war materials to Switzerland.”

Neutral Switzerland requires countries that buy Swiss arms to seek permission to re-export them. According to Swiss law, exports of war material must be refused if the country of destination is involved in an international armed conflict.

Rasmussen was secretary general of the military alliance for more than five years, from 2009 to 2014. He was succeeded by Jens Stoltenberg of Norway.