Switzerland: We refuse to supply anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine

BERN, SWITZERLAND — Spain’s attempt to supply Ukraine with Swiss-made anti-aircraft guns has failed. This became clear after Bern officially confirmed that such a delivery would violate the arms re-export law. These are 35 mm anti-aircraft guns. This is not the first attempt by European countries to supply Swiss weapons to Ukraine. Last year, Denmark and Germany ran into a “Swiss wall” after their request was also rejected.

Switzerland: We refuse to supply anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine
Photo credit: SAF

The news agency EFE broke the news of the Swiss rejection of the Spanish request. The release does not make it clear which 35mm anti-aircraft system was rejected.

According to BulgarianMilitary.com experts, it is very likely that it is a 35 mm Oerlikon GDF twin cannon towed anti-aircraft gun. This weapon is produced by the Swiss branch of Rheinmetall Air Defense after acquiring the original developer Oerlikon Contraves in 2009.

The anti-aicraft gun is automatically controlled by the fire control system. On electronic manual control and with a visor with laser-distance measuring unit based on an autonomuous computer, the gun can be operated independently.

The Swiss law

According to Swiss law, Switzerland prohibits re-export to countries in a state of armed conflict. Thus, Ukraine cannot claim supplies of Swiss weapons. Swiss law requires any foreign operator of Swiss arms to seek official permission from Bern for future re-exports.

In 2022, Germany asked to send Cheetah battle tanks to Ukraine, and later Denmark wanted to send twenty Piranha III battle tanks to Ukraine. As has already been made clear, Bern rejected and forbade such supplies.

Swiss neutrality is known throughout the world, although this neutrality was quite controversial during World War II when the Nazis benefited from the sale of Swiss optical sights, railways, and the country’s financial banking system.

The debate

The war in Ukraine sparked a public debate in Switzerland. There are growing calls for Bern to lift this ban on the war in Ukraine. A moment has come when the country’s parliament started a debate on making the “necessary corrections” in the Swiss legislation regarding the re-export of locally produced weapons.

However, for the time being, the Swiss government remains on the sidelines of the debate, maintaining neutrality in compliance with local law.


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