Further Swiss donations and help pledged to Ukraine

Sorting through donations from the public deposited directly at the Ukrainian embassy in Bern on Wednesday. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

After the announcement yesterday of an official package of CHF8 million ($8.68 million), which includes relief supplies for the Ukrainian population, today some Swiss cantons, institutions and public announced further support.

This content was published on March 2, 2022 minutes

Cantons Bern and Zurich, for example, pledged to release CHF1 million each from their lottery funds, to be donated to the Swiss Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Swiss National Science Foundation meanwhile said on Wednesday it was setting aside CHF1 million to help bring Ukrainian researchers to Swiss universities, as part of a support package for the international “Scholars at Risk” organisation.

The SNSF did not say how many researchers they would be able to support or bring to Switzerland, but added that more measures were in preparation.

Swiss Solidarity, who have already been collecting donations from the public (see Infobox below), also announced that a national day of donating would be held on Wednesday, March 9 next to shore up more support.

Swiss solidarity campaign

Swiss Solidarity has launched a fundraising campaign to help cope with an expected humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Donations can be paid via postal account 10-15000-6, adding the words “Crisis in Ukraine”.

In a first phase, the money will be used to help refugees in countries neighbouring Ukraine, notably in Poland. Swiss Solidarity works with charities and aid organisations, including Caritas, HEKS/EPER, the Swiss Red Cross, Helvetas, Medair, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Terre des hommes foundation.

If possible and if necessary, aid projects will also be supported in Ukraine.

The money goes exclusively towards humanitarian aid.

Swiss SolidarityExternal link is an independent foundation. It was born from a programme by the French-language public radio and is now the humanitarian arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of SWI

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16,000 Swiss beds

As for Ukrainians who have fled the country since the outbreak of war last week, the UN put the number today at 876,000.

The Swiss migration authorities confirmed today that just 150 asylum requests had been filed by Ukrainians since the Russian invasion, but that the number was increasing.

However, it’s not known if and how many more Ukrainians have come to Switzerland in the meantime, since they are allowed to travel into the Schengen area (of which Switzerland is a member) for 90 days without applying for a visa.

This raises the possibility that some may have already found shelter in private homes, a spokesman for the Swiss Secretariat for Migration said on Wednesday.

A campaign involving Swiss people signing up to offer accommodation for Ukrainian refugees, organised on the Campax platform, had by Wednesday received notice from some 6,613 households ready to welcome refugees – that’s 15,904 beds.

Bern to analyse Belarus sanctions

After taking over the European Union’s sanctions on Russian individuals and interests earlier this week, Swiss authorities are now analysing how to react to Wednesday’s announcement that the EU was also targeting Russian ally Belarus with measures affecting the country’s economy, notably its wood, potash, and steel industries.

The government will examine the new EU measures and autonomously decide whether it will take them over fully, partly, or not at all, the Economics Ministry told the Keystone-SDA news agency on Wednesday.

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