A large Swiss arms manufacturer and aerospace engineering company, Ruag AG, which is headquartered in Bern, Switzerland, has been denied permission by the Swiss government to sell roughly 100 tanks to Kyiv for its war against Russia. The government denied the sale saying it would be "inconsistent with applicable law" to provide an arms delivery to an active conflict zone, citing Switzerland's long-standing history of neutrality.
The sale was meant to be for 96 non-operational Leopard I tanks which belong to Ruag but are currently being stored in Italy. The tanks were to be refurbished in Germany and then sent to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Swiss government did approve the sale of 25 Leopard 2 tanks that belong to the Swiss army which will be transferred to the German company Rheinmetall AG. That deal is expected to go through by next year and the government supported the sale as Germany promised not to send the tanks to Kyiv, but rather to keep them for the German army to fill the gaps it has since sending its own tanks to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, it is not unclear where Switzerland stands on the war in Ukraine, given that the country has both joined and expanded European travel and financial sanctions against Russia. Switzerland has also been a hotbed of Russian and Chinese spies. The Swiss intelligence agency, the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS), issued a statement this week that said, "In Europe, Switzerland is one of the states with the highest numbers of Russian intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover, in part due to its role as a host to international organizations."
Subscribe to our evening newsletter to stay informed during these challenging times!!