Ukrainian Official Criticises Switzerland Over Arms Exports

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The leader of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party, David Arakhamia, has criticised Switzerland for its position on weapons exports.

Switzerland is doing itself a “disservice,” he said in an interview published in the CH-Media group of newspapers on Saturday.

“The Swiss live by the paradigm of neutrality. I understand that they think that way and I agree that they do not sell arms directly to Ukraine,” said Arakhamia.

But depriving customers of the freedom to dispose of the goods they buy will harm Swiss industry, he says.

“If Switzerland continues along this path, it will end up losing its arms market completely,” said Arkhamia, who is close to the Ukrainian president. “That would be the end of the Swiss arms industry.”

Since Russia launched its war against Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine has become one of the centres of the global arms trade. “We are aware of all the major contracts concluded in each country,” said Arakhamia.

Previously, all traders would ask whether a potential deal complied with international arms trade rules, i.e. strict US re-export rules. “Today, everyone asks if (the weapons in question) have Swiss components,” said Arakhamia. “People don’t want to buy this kind of thing, they don’t want to pay for something that they can’t then give to whoever they want.”

More Swiss investment in Ukraine

Swiss politicians should think about the future of the arms factories in their cantons, says the Ukrainian. “Is it really in Switzerland’s interest for a factory to close down or for hundreds of people to be made redundant?”

“Neutrality helped the Swiss people after the Second World War, but I don’t think it still works in today’s world,” he said.

He said he hoped Switzerland would invest more in Ukraine. In his view, Switzerland has always been a specialist in the financial markets and provides valuable assistance to Ukraine in the field of mine clearance. “But it could concentrate its efforts even more in the area of investment. Arms companies could, for example, open joint ventures in Ukraine,” he said.

Source : SWI