War against Ukraine – measures taken by the Confederation since 24 February 2022

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine in violation of international law. In response, the Federal Council decided to adopt the EU's sanctions against Russia. One year after the military aggression began, the Federal Council expresses its solidarity with the war-stricken population and requests, at its meeting of 22.02.2023, the immediate release of a new aid package totalling CHF 140 million.

 Men in red jackets stand at the open door of a goods wagon and load boxes.
Members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) prepare a delivery of relief supplies to Ukraine. © FDFA

On 24 February 2023 it will be exactly one year since the start of Russian military aggression against Ukraine. The Federal Council immediately condemned Russia's intervention as a serious violation of international law. Specifically, Russia breached the international law principles prohibiting the use of force and respecting states' territorial integrity.

At the same time, the Federal Council expressed its concern for the population, and emphasised its solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Since the war against Ukraine began, the federal government has been active on a number of fronts to help people affected by the conflict.

On 22 February 2023, the Federal Council also requested a new emergency aid package. The 2023 Action Plan, worth CHF 140 million, is intended for Ukraine and Moldova.

Action Plan 2023 for Ukraine and the region at a glance (PDF, 3 Pages, 218.5 kB, German)

The assistance envisaged in this emergency aid package builds on Switzerland's engagement in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. It responds exactly to needs and requests from the two countries in areas where Switzerland has specific expertise.

Since the beginning of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, the Confederation has supported Ukraine and the war-affected population in the following areas.

Humanitarian aid

From the outset of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) assessed needs in Poland and Moldova and then worked closely with the Swiss Embassy in Kiev to set up material aid centres for people affected by the war. These centres then coordinated the delivery of relief supplies. To date, the Swiss government's humanitarian aid has transported more than 1,000 tonnes of material from Switzerland to Ukraine and purchased more than 4,765 tonnes of vital foodstuffs in Ukraine to help the population.

As part of the winter relief action plan, the Confederation also supported projects aimed at the rapid rehabilitation of destroyed civilian infrastructure (e.g. emergency repairs in the areas of energy, roads and health). Various humanitarian aid projects were launched in areas already covered by development cooperation and in which solid partnerships had been established.

Since February 2022, more than 70 SHA specialists have been deployed to Ukraine and Moldova to support the Swiss representations and the humanitarian organisations present there (ICRC, UN, NGOs).

Development cooperation

Switzerland's international co-operation has been active in Ukraine since the 1990s. Switzerland's current commitment is based on the 2020-2023 co-operation programme, which has the following priorities.

  • strengthening democratic institutions
  • improving the health of the population (improving basic medical care)
  • promoting sustainable urbanisation (e.g. energy efficiency, sustainable mobility)
  • strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (e.g. agricultural SMEs, access to financial services).

These activities have proven to be very effective and will be continued with the necessary adjustments. For example, Switzerland has adapted a development co-operation project for the rehabilitation of victims of post-traumatic stress. Another project provides chemical products and hygienic equipment for dairy production in different regions. These supplies ensure the financial survival of the dairy sector.   

 Ukraine (International cooperation)

Financial assistance and multilateral support

In order to provide financial assistance, the Swiss government uses the instruments of international organisations such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). These organisations have set up funds to pool contributions to Ukraine from different countries.

As a result of the war, tax revenues in Ukraine have collapsed, the World Bank's Peace Fund is working to keep the state's finances in balance and to ensure that salaries are paid to public service staff, such as teachers and police.

Through the Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund (URTF), Switzerland is helping with the urgent repair of destroyed energy infrastructure.

Within the framework of the EBRD, Switzerland is primarily involved in supporting the private sector in Ukraine. The EBRD's Small Business Impact Fund, for example, helps to improve the environment for SMEs. Activities include providing advice, strengthening supply chains, ensuring access to finance and establishing industrial parks.

Through the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM), Switzerland invests in the Horizon Capital Growth Fund, which supports IT and export start-ups.

Ukraine (SECO)

Peace, human rights and international humanitarian law

Without justice, no lasting peace will be possible in Ukraine. This is why Switzerland supports mechanisms and processes for the criminal prosecution of violations of international law and human rights. With the support of 42 other countries, it referred the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court so that the prosecutor could immediately begin investigations.

However, given the unprecedented scale of the crimes associated with Russia's military aggression, it will be impossible to prosecute every case. Switzerland therefore supports Ukraine in its efforts to complement criminal accountability with other mechanisms and activities. For example, it assists the Ukrainian authorities in the search for and identification of missing persons. It also supports humanitarian demining activities to enable civilians to quickly return to their homes and property. Switzerland also supports the investigation mechanisms of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN.

International humanitarian law

Human Rights Diplomacy


Good offices

At the beginning of the conflict, Switzerland offered its good offices to both belligerents, including the following services

  • Hosting discussions and meetings. It thus offers an established platform with International Geneva. As the European headquarters of the United Nations, Geneva offers great added-value to peace processes. Geneva brings together continuity, expertise, infrastructure and relevant actors.
  • Provide substantive and expert support to possible negotiations.
  • Assume the role of a protecting power. Ukraine has expressed its wish for Switzerland to exercise a protective power mandate and represent its interests in Russia. However, the protective power mandate can only enter into force with Russia's consent. This is because the agreement of all three states concerned is required for a protective power mandate under the Vienna Convention. If Russia agrees, Switzerland will be able to activate the foreign interests section within its embassy in Moscow and provide services, mainly consular services, to Ukrainians in Russia.

Good offices

Reconstruction process

At the beginning of July 2022, the then President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, and the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal, brought together the main players (EU and international organisations) around the same table in order to advance the recovery process in Ukraine. The political framework for this effort is set out in the Lugano Declaration. The declaration states that the process will be led by Ukraine, but that Ukraine will also have to continue the reforms it has started. The Lugano Principles, which are an integral part of the declaration, include common reference values for the future. Delegations from 59 states and organisations took part in the Lugano conference.

The "Lugano Principles" were taken up at the conferences in Berlin (October 2022) and Paris (December 2022), both of which focused on support for Ukraine and the continuation of the recovery process. Switzerland will actively participate in the next Ukraine Recovery Conference, which will take place in London in June 2023.

Dossier URC2022

International organisations

Since the beginning of the Russian aggression, the situation in Ukraine has often been discussed in various organisations. Thus, Ukraine has regularly been on the agenda of the UN Security Council.

In its statements on the situation in Ukraine, both in the UN General Assembly and in the UN Security Council, of which it has been a non-permanent member since the beginning of 2023, Switzerland has strongly condemned the Russian military aggression and has always advocated respect for international law and the protection of the civilian population.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, with the support of Switzerland and others, established a Commission of Inquiry to gather information on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the conflict.

Switzerland has also always taken a stand on the situation in Ukraine in the debates on this subject in the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Switzerland/UN Security Council – News overview


"It is essential in the medium term to bring everyone to the table"

Council of Europe

"It was a major shock but it hasn't weakened the Council of Europe, it has made it stronger"

Science and preservation of cultural property

Through the National Science Foundation, a scientific solidarity credit of CHF 9 million has been set up for Ukrainian researchers in Switzerland.

The Confederation is committed to the protection of Ukraine's rich cultural heritage by financing projects of Swiss civil society actors as well as by providing financial support to international organisations such as UNESCO and the OSCE. To prevent the destruction and illegal transfer of Ukrainian cultural goods, funds were allocated, for example, to strengthen border controls and set up an online platform to facilitate the exchange of information between countries.

Protective and packing equipment, now unavailable in Ukraine, was also delivered to over fifty museums in the Odessa and Charkiw regions. In addition, several unique pieces from the collection of the National Art Museum in Kiev were sent to Switzerland for preservation and public display. They have been on display at the Kunstmuseum Basel since December 2022. In addition, a collection of Ukrainian-language books has been built up in Swiss public libraries thanks to financial support from the Confederation.

War in Ukraine: Measures for researchers (Swiss National Science Foundation)


On 28 February 2022, the Federal Council decided to resume EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus. These measures include targeted measures against more than 1,300 persons and 170 organisations, the freezing of assets, numerous financial measures, a ban on trade in certain goods, as well as bans on entry and on providing certain services to the Russian government or companies.

In addition, a legal basis was introduced for the introduction of price caps for Russian crude oil and petroleum products (oil price cap). Switzerland took care to ensure that the sanctions contained exceptions so as not to impede humanitarian activities.

By taking over the EU sanctions, Switzerland is not undermining its neutrality. It continues to respect neutrality in the strict sense, i.e. the law of neutrality, without restriction. It does not favour any belligerent militarily. However, the Federal Council has made use of the room for manoeuvre provided by the policy of neutrality: in deciding to take over sanctions against Russia, it has taken into account the fact that Russia's military aggression against Ukraine constitutes a serious violation of basic norms of international law.

Measures related to the situation in Ukraine (SECO) (fr)

Questions and answers on Switzerland's neutrality


In March 2022, the Federal Council decided for the first time to activate the protection status S. This status gives people who have fled Ukraine the right to stay in Switzerland without having to go through a regular asylum procedure. By the end of January 2023, Switzerland had granted the S status to around 75,000 people from Ukraine.

Information on the Ukraine crisis (SEM)

Measures and financial amounts between Feb 24, 2022 and Feb 24, 2023



Art/Bereich der Beiträge

Beitrag (in Mio. CHF)






Nachtragskredit I (Soforthilfe)





Nachtragskredit II (Winterhilfe)





Programm IZA (DEZA) in der Ukraine





Beitrag an World Food Programme










URC2022 Lugano










Beiträge an Verwaltungskosten der Kantone





Unterstützungsprogramm für Personen mit Schutzstatus S





Rapid Response Fund des zweiten Schweizer Beitrags zur Verstärkung der humanitären Hilfe





Erhöhung der Bettenkapazität in Bundesasylzentren





Aufwendungen für Personal und Dolmetschende





2023: Sozialhilfe, Unterstützung Personen mit Status S





Rechtsvertretung im Asylverfahren





Aufwendungen für URC2022 Lugano





Finanzielle Hilfe zur Aufrechterhaltung der nicht-militärischen Funktionen des ukrainischen Staates, Unterstützung von Wirtschaftsreformen und KMU, Schadens- und Bedarfsanalyse





Programm IZA (SECO) in der Ukraine





Nachtragskredit II Winterhilfe





Unterstützung von Start-ups im Technologiebereich





Unterstützung für ukrainische Forschende





URC2022 Lugano










Material für medizinische Nothilfe





URC2022 Lugano





Schutz von Kulturgütern


Switzerland's commitment before 2022

Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, Switzerland and Ukraine have maintained good diplomatic relations in a variety of areas. The Confederation can therefore rely on a close network of contacts and partners when supporting Ukraine.

International cooperation

Following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the 2014 armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, Switzerland decided in 2015 to significantly increase its engagement in Ukraine. The international cooperation budget was almost doubled for the 2015-2018 cooperation strategy and has since been further expanded. In addition, the SDC's and SECO's engagement was strengthened by the Peace and Human Rights Division (then the Human Security Division) and the Confederation's humanitarian aid. In 2015, several convoys from Switzerland reached the separatist areas in eastern Ukraine, where they provided the population with chemicals for the treatment of drinking water and medicines. Switzerland was thus the first third country to deliver aid on this scale to both sides of the so-called line of contact. In total, Switzerland provided bilateral international cooperation worth CHF 250 million in Ukraine from 2014 to 2021, of which CHF 41.5 million was humanitarian aid.

Ukraine (International cooperation)

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Switzerland held the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014. In this capacity, it played a key role in the international efforts to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine. In view of the mass demonstrations in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities in the winter of 2013/14, which led to many civilian victims due to the harsh reaction of the security forces, the OSCE Permanent Council decided on 21 March to send a special civilian observation mission to Ukraine. From then on, this mission reported regularly on the security situation and other issues and also provided mediation support. Switzerland provided the Deputy Head of Mission, Alexander Hug (2014-18), for several years. In response to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the OSCE set up the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and - together with the Normandy Four (the heads of state and government of FR, DE, UA and RU) - defined the agreements as a basis for the further negotiation process at high-level negotiations in Minsk. The Special Envoy for Ukraine and the TKG appointed by the CH Chair, CH diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, was on site at the time. In the context of the TKG negotiations, Switzerland took on various key roles: in addition to Tagliavini, it provided other personnel, such as Heidi Grau as Special Envoy (2020-2021) and Toni Frisch as Coordinator of the TKG Humanitarian Working Group (2015-21). The crisis in and around Ukraine at the time exposed a deeper crisis in European security. As part of the OSCE Chairmanship in 2014, an expert panel was set up in close cooperation with Serbia (Chairmanship 2015) and Germany (Chairmanship 2016) with the mandate to develop a report and proposals (Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project).

Last update 24.02.2023


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