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25 Jan, 2024 16:56

Switzerland no longer neutral – Moscow

The Swiss government has adopted an anti-Russian stance on European security, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said
Switzerland no longer neutral – Moscow

Switzerland is no longer a neutral country and pursues an openly anti-Russian national security strategy, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has suggested. Moscow's top diplomat was speaking after meeting in New York with his Swiss counterpart, Ignazio Cassis, who offered to serve as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev.

Russia has repeatedly insisted that it remains open to peace talks with Ukraine, as long as its national interests are considered and Kiev acknowledges the “new realities on the ground.” Moscow insists Kiev recognizes the four regions that joined Russia following a series of referendums in 2022.

Kiev, however, has been reluctant to engage in peace talks, and President Vladimir Zelensky has even signed a law banning negotiations with Moscow while Vladimir Putin remains president.

Speaking at a press conference at the United Nations on Wednesday, Lavrov stated that during his meeting with Cassis, the Swiss Foreign Minister tried to convince him that Switzerland could “as it did in the past, serve as a mediator on any issue.” 

“I explained to him that a mediator must be neutral,” Lavrov said, pointing to the fact that “Switzerland was previously famous not only for its military neutrality, but also neutrality in a broader sense, which allowed it to successfully host various negotiation processes.”

However, according to Russia’s top diplomat, the Swiss government has abandoned this neutrality by adopting a national security strategy for the next three to four years that aims to develop European security “not with Russia, but against it.”

While not officially a member of any international blocs, such as the EU or NATO, Switzerland has nevertheless joined nearly all of the Western sanctions imposed on Moscow, frozen billions of dollars’ worth of its assets, and actively supported Kiev following the launch of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine in 2022.

Commenting on Bern’s proposal to mediate talks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also stressed that peace initiatives coming from countries that actively aid Ukraine are “manipulative.”

“Such pseudo-initiatives and false statements are designed to create the feeling of some kind of activity aimed at peace, while simultaneously, the supply of weapons continues as do the splitting of budgets in search for ways to support the Kiev regime,” she said.

Zakharova stressed that if Switzerland wanted its proposals to seem honest, it should “stop sending weapons and inciting conflict” in Ukraine. She stated further that there could be no talk of peace initiatives with those trying to use Kiev to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia.