Hospitals in Switzerland will not treat wounded Ukrainians because the government failed to comply with a NATO request not to violate the country’s policy of neutrality, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), contacted by AFP, confirmed on Monday.
“Switzerland, through its humanitarian assistance and commitment, provides, in principle, better and more effective support on the ground than the patients received in Switzerland,” the FDFA quoted Agerpres as saying.
He stressed that the reception of Ukrainian fighters would be a problem for Switzerland’s neutrality.
According to Article 37 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, wounded and sick persons from the war zone “shall be protected by a neutral State” so that “they may not again take part in hostilities.”
A request from the NATO organization to coordinate medical evacuations outside Ukraine was initially well received by the zones, but meanwhile received an unfavorable opinion from the FDFA in mid-June, writes the Swiss daily “24 heures”.
After an “urgent” analysis by several ministries, the FDFA confirmed that “preparatory measures already taken in Switzerland have been suspended.”
Bern is more likely to rely on support for Ukrainian hospitals, the ministry said, highlighting the difficulty of “distinguishing between civilian and military patients” among wounded fighters.
“In the context of humanitarian aid, Switzerland particularly supports measures to rehabilitate those injured in the conflict,” the FDFA said.
“There are concrete measures to support the main hospitals in Lvov, Sumi and Chernivtsi through the provision of treatment facilities, training of physiotherapists and general strengthening of health re-education.”
Between support for Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia, the Russian invasion of Ukraine highlights the limits of Switzerland’s neutrality, which is steeped in a strong humanitarian tradition, AFP comments.
Difficulties have been compounded in recent weeks by a significant rapprochement with NATO, implemented by holding a meeting between member states on Swiss soil, a first for a country outside the organization.
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