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Switzerland changes stance on treating injured Ukrainians

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Injured Ukrainian children will be able to receive medical care in Switzerland despite initial opposition on neutrality grounds.  

This content was published on July 21, 2022 - 10:00
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Swiss officials have expressed a willingness to allow 155 injured Ukrainian children into Switzerland for medical treatment. This represents a shift in policy. 

This week it was revealed that the foreign ministry had vetoed a NATO request to treat wounded Ukrainian civilians in Swiss hospitals over concerns that it would violate its obligations as a neutral state under international law. 

This veto aroused fierce criticism, not least because the cantons had been open to accommodating the wounded in their hospitals. Numerous prominent political figures had expressed their incomprehension on the matter.

No soldiers

According to Deputy State Secretary Johannes Matyassy, the initial refusal was because it would be up to Ukraine to decide who should be sent abroad for medical treatment. Switzerland would therefore not have been able to verify whether military personnel were involved. Now, however, the situation has changed.

The diplomatic representation in Kyiv sent a missive to the foreign ministry assuring it that no soldiers would be sent to Switzerland for medical treatment, Ukrainian Ambassador Artem Rybchenko told Swiss public television, SRF, on Thursday.

The Ukrainians recently made a specific request concerning 155 children. The Federal Office of Public Health will now make the final decision.

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