Switzerland turns down NATO request on Ukrainians — Analysis
Bern has refused to treat Ukrainian civilians, arguing that they are “indistinguishable” from soldiers, local media report
The Swiss federal government has turned down a request to treat wounded Ukrainians, arguing that the move would violate the Alpine nation’s neutral status, the country’s Tages Anzeiger newspaper has learned. A NATO division made the request.
The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre – a NATO structure that currently coordinates international medical evacuations and treatment of Ukrainians injured during the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev – reportedly reached out to the Swiss Army’s Coordinated Medical Service (KSD) in May. According to media reports, the military coalition sought help from Swiss doctors in treating not only wounded soldiers in Ukraine but also civilians in dire need of medical treatment.
Switzerland’s national association of health-service providers – the conference of cantonal health directors (GDK) – then said it was “fundamentally open”To the idea that injured Ukrainians could be admitted to Swiss medical facilities. The Federal Health Office also gave its approval. However, in June, the Foreign Affairs Department turned down the suggestion, stating that it would not be possible to admit such a person. “legal and practical reasons,” Tages Anzeiger reports.
The Geneva Conventions, which were ratified in Bern by a neutral country allow soldiers to be treated as if they are part of a third-party conflict. However, it must also ensure their safety. “can no longer take part in the acts of war,”According to Swiss media, According to media reports, such a nation could lose its neutral status.
The Swiss Blick newspaper reports that Bern could potentially take the step of imprisoning any Ukrainian soldiers it’s treated. According to the newspaper, Moscow might also allow these soldiers to be returned to Ukraine.
Treatment of civilians turned out to be just as problematic for the Swiss authorities under the existing circumstances, according to the country’s media. Johannes Matyassy, the Director of the Foreign Affairs Department’s Consular Directorate, told journalists that “it is almost impossible to distinguish between civilians and soldiers”When it comes to modern Ukraine, “many civilians in Ukraine have taken up arms.”
The Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs states that Bern is the capital of Switzerland. “did not just say no”But offered some assistance “on the ground” instead. Switzerland is planning to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine’s civilian hospitals, Swiss media reports. However, the scale of such aid remains unknown.
Switzerland – a nation that prides itself on its neutrality – has still joined some of the western sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. However, Bern has repeatedly stopped other western countries from sending Swiss arms and ammunition to Kiev. In April, Switzerland blocked delivery of ammunition used by Germany’s Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, according to local media.
It also rejected a Danish request in June to export Swiss-made armored cars to Kiev. Bern said also that countries like Germany and Italy can send weapons with Swiss-made parts to Ukraine, provided they do not contain more than 50% of Swiss-made materials.