Klitschko asks Switzerland for weapons

Vitali Klitschko in Davos on Wednesday Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko has asked Switzerland to supply Ukraine with defence weapons such as air defence systems.

This content was published on January 19, 2023 minutes

Klitschko, speaking to blick.chExternal link on the fringes of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, said that in conversations with members of the Swiss government he heard one sentence particularly often: “We are a neutral country.”

On the one hand he understands Swiss neutrality, he said. Nevertheless, he repeated what he said at the WEF 2022 in May: “One has to take a stance.” In today’s world, he said, one cannot be neutral.

Last week the Spanish Defence Minister said Switzerland was refusing to allow Spain to re-export war materiel to Ukraine. Switzerland has stuck firmly to the line that its neutrality would be damaged by allowing other countries to send Swiss-produced weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.

The Swiss government has also resisted pressure from Germany to sanction the re-export of ammunition to supply anti-aircraft vehicles already in Ukraine.

‘Greatest honour’

Last Monday Klitschko criticised the fact that international arms deliveries were moving too slowly.

On Wednesday NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine needed a “significant increase” weapons at a pivotal moment in Russia’s invasion and such support is the only way to a negotiated peaceful solution.

Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxing world champion, said he would take up arms himself to defend Ukraine. His father was a general and taught him that “the greatest honour for a man is to give his life for his country”. Compared to the previous WEF eight months ago, the situation around Kyiv is still difficult but stable, the mayor continued.

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