Switzerland reopens its embassy in Kyiv
Switzerland condemns Russia's military intervention against Ukraine and urges Russia to immediately cease military aggression and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory. Switzerland is committed to a political solution to the conflict and is at the disposal as host or facilitator within the framework of its good offices, if the conflict parties desire this. Information on the conflict in Ukraine in the news ticker.
The building of the Swiss Embassy in Kyiv. © FDFA
15.05.2022 – Switzerland reopens its embassy in Kyiv
Two and a half months after the temporary closure, Switzerland is reopening its embassy in Ukraine: five FDFA staff will return to Kyiv over the next few days. This decision is based on an in-depth analysis of the security situation in the Ukrainian capital.
15.05.2022 – Manuel Bessler visits Ukraine
Manuel Bessler, head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, travelled to Ukraine from 12 to 15 May. Accompanied by a Swiss delegation and some representatives of the Swiss Embassy in Kyiv, he visited the newly opened Humanitarian Aid Office in Lviv. He also inspected projects supported by Switzerland in the region. A meeting was also held with the local authorities.
03.05.2022 – Phone call between President of the Confederation Ignazio Cassis and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken
"A substantial phone call on key bilateral and regional issues." This is how President Ignazio Cassis described his telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Twitter on 3 May. Among the topics discussed were the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan. Finally, the conversation was an opportunity to reiterate both sides' commitment to peace and security.
27.04.2022 – Further EU sanctions against Russia implemented
In view of Russia’s ongoing military aggression in Ukraine, the Federal Council enacted further sanctions against Russia and Belarus on 27 April. The new measures include far-reaching sanctions on goods, including a ban on imports of lignite and coal as well as on goods that are important sources of revenue for Russia (e.g. timber, cement, seafood, caviar). In addition, there are export bans on goods that can help strengthen Russia's industrial capacities (e.g. industrial robots or certain chemical products). Further sanctions also come into force in the financial sector.
In order for Switzerland to be able to fulfil its international obligations to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Ordinance now provides for an exemption for the export of special military goods. This is to enable Switzerland to export NBC protective equipment under a request for assistance from the OPCW.
08.04.2022 – Swiss food shipment reaches Odesa
Switzerland has launched a series of aid shipments for the needy population in Ukraine. In cooperation with her Ukrainian partner Astarta-Kyiv, yesterday Switzerland handed over a first consignment of oil, sugar, flour, corn and powdered milk purchased on the Ukrainian market. This action was taken at the request of the authorities of the city of Odesa, who are working on establishing strategic reserves to ensure food distribution to vulnerable population in case of a potential blockade of the city.
The delivery of the food was welcomed by the Mayor of Odesa in the presence of a team from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA). Since last week, an SHA team from Moldova had travelled to Ukraine several times to prepare a series of deliveries amounting to 1400 tons of food products for Odesa in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities.
08.04.2022 – German-speaking foreign ministers address joint appeal to Russia
At the invitation of Liechtenstein's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the annual meeting of foreign ministers from the five German-speaking countries took place today in the Principality of Liechtenstein. Their discussions focused on the current situation in Ukraine and its geopolitical consequences, and the humanitarian crisis created by the Russian attack on Ukraine. The five German-speaking foreign ministers jointly appeal to Russia to immediately end all use of force in Ukraine and to withdraw its troops unconditionally. "As part of the European community of values, we work side by side with our neighbours and the EU for stability, security and prosperity. It is in the interest of the entire continent that the conflict be resolved as soon as possible," said the head of the FDFA during the meeting. With the joint appeal, the five German-speaking countries underline their like-minded stance on the war in Ukraine.
22.03.2022 – President Ignazio Cassis meets Moldova's President Maia Sandu in Chisinau and talks with members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit about caring for refugees from Ukraine
The day after his visit to Poland, President Cassis held political talks in Moldova and got a picture of the situation of refugees from Ukraine. In the capital Chisinau, he held bilateral talks with President Maia Sandu and Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița. He expressed appreciation for Moldova's generous reception of refugees from Ukraine. During the meetings, the need for a coordinated European approach to refugee movements from Ukraine was also raised.
Switzerland is also helping on the ground, a Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) Rapid Response Team having been deployed to Moldova on 7 March. Fourteen SHA members are currently serving in the country. In a transit centre for refugees, which President Cassis and Prime Minister Gavrilița visited together on Tuesday, a Swiss health team including a paediatrician, a midwife and a nurse is helping to provide basic care for mothers and their children from Ukraine.
21.03.2022 – President Cassis meets with Prime Minister Morawiecki in Poland and is briefed at the border about the situation on the ground
On Monday, 21 March, President Ignazio Cassis met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw, where they discussed the crisis triggered by the Russian attack on Ukraine – in particular, the humanitarian emergency in Ukraine, refugee movements, the situation in Poland and Switzerland's humanitarian aid.
President Cassis then travelled to the Ukrainian-Polish border in Dorohusk, where he visited a refugee reception centre and Switzerland's transfer point for humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.
14.03.2022 – Solidarity drive for Ukraine: steps to follow to ensure that the aid reaches those in need
The generosity in support of the people of Ukraine is evident in towns and cantons throughout Switzerland. However, in order for this surge of solidarity to best meet the needs of the Ukrainian population, the SDC would like to draw attention to various aspects. A number of steps must be taken to ensure that the different types of aid provided to Ukraine respond to genuine needs. Please follow these brief steps:
11.03.2022 – Federal Council approves CHF 80 million for Swiss humanitarian aid in Ukraine and wider region
Around 12 million people are dependent on emergency aid because of Russia's ongoing military intervention in Ukraine. At its meeting of 11 March, the Federal Council decided to increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine and the wider region to CHF 80 million.
11.03.2022 – Overflight requests from parties to the conflict and other states which have the purpose of providing military support to the parties to the conflict shall not be approved
Against the background of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Federal Council has examined how Switzerland should deal with overflight requests in the context of the armed conflict. At its meeting on 11 March 2022, it decided that the following overflights would not be authorized:
- Overflights by military aircraft of the parties to the conflict that serve a military purpose;
- Overflights by military aircraft of other states whose purpose is to provide military support to one of the parties to the conflict, namely with the delivery of war material.
Exempted from this non-authorisation are overflights by both military aircraft of the parties to the conflict and other states that serve a humanitarian or medical purpose, including the transport of wounded persons.
Press release (fr)
09.03.2022 – National Solidarity Day
Federal President Ignazio Cassis opened the fundraising day today by answering the first calls for support for the people of Ukraine.
In the evening, he took part in the donation campaign on the Bundesplatz in Bern and expressed his enthusiasm for the sympathy shown by the Swiss population.
09.03.2022 – Church bells ringing in Switzerland: a call for pause for peace
Church bells rang out in unison in Switzerland at 10:00 today. The Switzerland’s Bishops' Conference, Protestant Reformed Church and Christian Catholic Church invited the population to a moment of recollection. The action was also supported by the President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis, the President of the National Council Irène Kälin, and the President of the Council of States, Thomas Hefti.
The President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis participated at this pause for peace from Neuhausen, Canton Schaffhausen.
08.03.2022 – President Cassis calls for solidarity with the Ukrainian people
On occasion of the National Solidarity Day in favour of the people of Ukraine, President Cassis has addressed the Swiss people. In a time of war, "it is important that we stand together and show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people who have been hit so hard", he said. On Swiss Solidarity's national donation day, the people of Switzerland could send a corresponding signal.
President Cassis underlined, that Switzerland is on the side of the law and against injustice, on the side of humanity and against barbarism, and on the side of a democracy that was being attacked without cause. "We do this as a neutral country, but not as an idle country. We do not intervene militarily, but we protect international law, we protect victims and we protect values, our own values," he said. "Acting in this way is compatible with our neutrality! To act in this way is to show solidarity."
The President of the Confederation was impressed by how many people in Switzerland are willing to take in refugees and how many have already made spontaneous donations. He also called for Russians not to be condemned solely because of their nationality. "Many of them do not want this war," he said.
07.03.2022 – Switzerland steps up humanitarian aid for Ukraine
A fourth consignment of relief supplies to meet people's daily needs is departing from Switzerland today (Monday) by rail for Poland and the Ukrainian border. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has set up a hub for relief supplies in the Polish city of Lublin in order to coordinate its support for the Ukrainian population. The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit has dispatched an additional rapid response team to Moldova. During this first phase of the relief operation, Swiss Humanitarian Aid's support package is initially set at 8 million Swiss francs.
Today's rail consignment is the fourth delivery of relief supplies to the Ukrainian population in the space of one week. Swiss Humanitarian Aid, which is part of the FDFA, will decide on and organise further deliveries of humanitarian aid in the coming days based on requests for assistance and capacity.
Switzerland is providing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ukraine with half a million Swiss francs and the UN with a quarter of a million. It is contributing a further 6.5 million to the UN and other international organisations.
04.03.2022 – Switzerland's national churches show solidarity: Presidents of Swiss Confederation, National Council and Council of States call for pause for peace
As a sign of solidarity with the people affected by the war in Ukraine, all church bells in Switzerland will ring for three minutes at 10am on 9 March. Switzerland's Bishops' Conference, Protestant Reformed Church and Christian Catholic Church are asking the country's population to pause for peace during the three minutes. President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis, together with National Council President Irène Kälin and Council of States President Thomas Hefti, is supporting this campaign.
02.03.2022 – President Cassis: "I am proud of the Swiss people’s solidarity "
On the private radio donation day in aid of refugees from Ukraine, President Cassis underlined that Switzerland is willing to provide humanitarian aid without red tape.
In an interview with Radio Energy, President Cassis says he is touched by the many examples that show the great willingness to help in Switzerland.
01.03.2022 – Switzerland sends humanitarian aid to Ukrainian population
Switzerland is delivering around 25 tonnes of relief supplies to the Ukrainian population. Swiss Humanitarian Aid will transport urgently needed materials and medical supplies from the Armed Forces Pharmacy to Poland. The aid supplies are part of Switzerland's overall support package worth around CHF 8 million.
01.03.2022 – Talks with the Foreign Ministers of Spain and Canada
President Ignazio Cassis spoke on the phone with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Jolie and Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares Bueno. The talks focused on the situation in Ukraine.
28.02.2022 – Swiss Embassy in Kyiv temporarily closed
Due to the threatening security situation in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the Swiss Embassy has been temporarily closed as of 28 February 2022. The remaining Swiss staff (5 persons, including the Swiss ambassador) have left Kyiv. The FDFA recommends that Swiss nationals in Ukraine leave the country by their own means if possible and safe to do so. Otherwise, they are advised to stay in a safe place. The instructions of the local authorities must be observed and the necessary precautions taken. Swiss nationals requiring assistance should contact by phone the FDFA Helpline.
28.02.2022 – Statement of the Federal President in the National Council on the situation in Ukraine
28.02.2022 – Switzerland adopts EU sanctions against Russia
Russia's unprecedented military attack on a sovereign European country was the deciding factor in the Federal Council's decision to change its previous stance on sanctions. At its extraordinary meeting on 28 February, the Federal Council took the decision to adopt the EU sanctions against Russia and thus strengthen their impact. These are primarily goods and financial sanctions. The assets of the persons and companies listed in the annex to the ordinance are frozen with immediate effect; the ban on entering into new business relationships remains in place.
Switzerland is also implementing the financial sanctions imposed by the EU on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with immediate effect. In so doing, Switzerland is responding to the serious violations of international law for which these individuals are responsible. The ban on imports, exports and investments concerning Crimea and Sevastopol, which has been in place since 2014, has been extended to the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which are no longer under the control of the Ukrainian government.
The Federal Council has also decided to partially suspend the 2009 agreement on visa facilitation for Russian nationals. In addition – in line with airspace closures in other European countries – Swiss airspace will be closed to all flights from Russia and to all movements of aircraft with Russian markings from 3pm on Monday with the exception of flights for humanitarian, medical or diplomatic purposes.
In reaching its decisions, the Federal Council took Switzerland’s neutrality and peace policy considerations into account. It reaffirmed Switzerland's willingness to actively contribute to a solution to the conflict through its good offices.
28.02.2022 – Relief supplies for the people of Ukraine
Within the next few days, Switzerland will deliver around 25 tonnes of relief supplies to the Polish capital Warsaw worth around 400’000 Swiss francs, part of the first Swiss aid package amounting to 8 million Swiss francs. The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) is providing urgently needed medical supplies and medicines from the Armed Forces Pharmacy. The relief supplies are intended for the Ukrainian population in Ukraine and in neighbouring states. Staff from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will accompany the aid shipment.
28.02.2022 – Evacuated employees of the Embassy in Kyiv have arrived in Poland
The convoy with evacuees from Kyiv has recently arrived on Polish territory. All passengers are in good health. The convoy consists of eight employees of the Swiss Embassy, two accompanying persons and a small group of people with Swiss connections. The onward journey to Switzerland is organized by the Swiss Embassy in Warsaw. The convoy is accompanied by security specialists of the FDFA and members of the army, who had already supported the embassy in emergency planning before the evacuation.
28.02.2022 – Current situation in Ukraine is a topic at the Human Rights Council
Today, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, opened the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. In his speech he addressed the current situation in Ukraine: "We are witnessing a development that most of us would not have thought possible. War is once again raging in the middle of Europe. I am deeply saddened that we have to observe this today in Geneva, the city of peace, human rights, humanitarian spirit and multilateralism."
President Cassis expressed sympathy with the millions of people affected by the war in Ukraine and reiterated that the Federal Council strongly condemns Russian aggression. He added that Switzerland calls on all parties involved in the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and human rights. He expressed his conviction "that the human rights institutions in Geneva can make an important contribution to the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law in Ukraine."
26.02.2022 – President Ignazio Cassis on the phone with the President of Ukraine
Via Twitter, President Cassis expresses Switzerland's sympathy with the people of Ukraine.
25.02.2022 – Partial evacuation of the Swiss Embassy in Kyiv
Due to the deteriorating security situation, the FDFA decided to evacuate the transferable staff of the Embassy in Kyiv not needed on site.
Nine embassy employees were evacuated, as well as three accompanying persons who had remained on site. In addition, a small group of persons with a connection to Switzerland were evacuated.
25.02.2022 – Switzerland extends its measures
On 25 February 2022 the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER modified Annex 3 of the Ordinance on measures to prevent the circumvention of international sanctions in relation to the situation in Ukraine.
Annex 3 (Prohibition of new business relationships) is being extended in accordance with several decisions taken by the EU. This is to prevent a circumvention via Swiss territory of the targeted sanctions adopted by the EU on 21 and 23 February.
These modifications enter into force at 6pm today.
24.02.2022 – Federal Council holds extraordinary meeting on the situation in Ukraine
Today, President Cassis made a statement on Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. The Federal Council had previously discussed the situation in Ukraine in an extraordinary meeting and also made decisions regarding sanctions against Russia. The Federal Council condemns Russia's military intervention in the strongest possible terms. It calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.
"Today is a sad day, a day we haven't seen for a long time. A day like we never wanted to see again. An armed conflict has begun on European ground. A situation that could not be prevented despite all diplomatic efforts. The current crisis does not only concern Russia and Ukraine. It affects the whole of Europe," President Cassis said in his statement.
The Head of the FDFA also addressed the situation at the Swiss Embassy in Kyiv in his statement. Due to the escalation of violence, the embassy has been closed until further notice, but remains accessible by phone. The transferable staff are working on the premises of the Embassy and will not be evacuated for the time being.
24.02.2022 – Switzerland strongly condemns Russia's military intervention against Ukraine
23.02.2022 – Federal Council condemns Russian action in violation of international law
The Federal Council discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine at its meeting of 23 February 2022. It condemns Russia's recognition of two regions as independent states as a violation of international law and a breach of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Federal Council wishes to ensure that Switzerland will not be used as a platform to circumnavigate sanctions imposed by the EU and is therefore examining the sanctions closely.
Die Anerkennung der zwei Republiken Donetsk und Luhansk durch Russland ist eine Verletzung der territorialen Integrität und der Souveränität der Ukraine. Russland verletzt dadurch internationales Völkerrecht. Dies unterstrich EDA-Staatssekretärin Livia Leu heute an einer Medienkonferenz. Die Schweiz verurteile diese Verletzungen der Souveränität und territorialen Integrität der Ukraine durch Russland. Sie anerkennt die Unabhängigkeit dieser Gebiete nicht, sie sind nach wie vor Teil des ukrainischen Staatsgebiets.
Mit der Unterzeichnung der Dekrete «über die Anerkennung der Donetsker und Luhansker sogenannten Volksrepubliken» durch Präsident Wladimir Putin am 21. Februar 2022 hat Russland die nicht-regierungskontrollierten Gebiete im Osten der Ukraine als unabhängige Staaten anerkannt. Haben haben die beiden Kammern des russischen Parlaments die Verträge ratifiziert.
Staatssekretärin Leu äussert sich sehr beunruhigt über die Entsendung russischer Truppen in diese Gebiete. Es bestehe eine akute Gefahr, dass das Gewaltverbot dadurch verletzt wird. Die Schweiz ruft deshalb alle Seiten auf, das Völkerrecht, namentlich das humanitäre Völkerrecht einzuhalten, und unterstützt nachdrücklich den Vorrang des Völkerrechts. Diese Haltung wurde auch dem russischen Botschafter in der Schweiz mitgeteilt, der heute Vormittag ins EDA zitiert wurde.
Im Hinblick auf den Konflikt in der Ostukraine, der seit acht Jahren andauert, hat sich die Schweiz seit Beginn für eine friedliche Lösung im Rahmen der von der OSZE geleiteten Friedensverhandlungen, der Trilateralen Kontaktgruppe, eingesetzt. Auch im Zusammenhang mit der jüngsten Eskalation steht die Schweiz im Kontakt mit ihren Partnern, um abzuklären, wie die OSZE im Hinblick auf die Deeskalation unterstützt werden kann. Staatssekretärin Leu unterstrich, dass die Schweiz einen Dialog mit allen Seiten unterhält und bereit ist, aktiv zur Entspannung der Lage beizutragen – auch im Rahmen ihrer Guten Dienste.
EDA steht im Kontakt mit Schweizer Staatsangehörigen in der Ukraine
Bei der Schweizer Botschaft in Kyiv sind derzeit 296 Schweizer Staatsangehörige registriert. Dabei handle es sich um Schweizer Bürgerinnen und Bürger, Doppelbürgerinnen und -bürger sowie Familienangehörige von Schweizer Staatsangehörigen, sagte Hans-Peter Lenz, Chef des Krisenmanagement-Zentrums (KMZ) im EDA. Zehn registrierte Personen leben laut Lenz in der Region Donetsk. «Das EDA kümmert sich um die Schweizer Staatsangehörigen und ist regelmässig per Telefon oder E-Mail mit ihnen in Kontakt», sagte der KMZ-Chef.
Die Schweizer Botschaft in Kyiv sei offen und operationell, sagte Lenz. Sie erbringe im normalen Rahmen konsularische Dienstleistungen und nehme ihre diplomatischen Aufgaben wahr. «Das Personal der Botschaft ist wohlauf», so Lenz weiter.