Last March, in our article “Switzerland is in danger“, we discussed how and why Switzerland received its greatest privilege, how significant these privileges of neutrality are for Switzerland and what – only positive – consequences this privilege has had for the development of our small country. And yes, we have the Russians to thank for this privilege. We have also pointed out the dangers. Switzerland seems to be lurching headlong in the wrong direction – weak leaders with traits of megalomania are responsible for this. They seem to see the duties imposed on them in the constitution as recommendations that can be bent beyond recognition.
At the WEF, President Amherd and Foreign Minister Cassis announced a peace conference, apparently without the knowledge of their Federal Council colleagues.
Most of the media in Switzerland think this is a great idea, or at least a good one.
“Spontaneous, emotional and unprofessional.”
This peace conference is to be based on President Selenski’s 10-point plan.
The concept of this event has various weaknesses which will lead to Switzerland embarrassing itself in front of the world public, because the world public does not only consist of the EU and the USA.
The new neutral Switzerland: spontaneous, emotional and unprofessional.
A look back
Storm of sanctions fully supported by Switzerland
One day after the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, the EU issued a well-prepared sanctions package on February 23, 2022.
Five days later, “neutral” Switzerland adopted the EU’s first sanctions package in full. Since then, the Swiss sanctions ordinance has been tightened 43 times and now comprises 152 pages.
“Everything from diesel engines to bathing slippers is sanctioned.”
The timing of the adoption of the sanctions is not only an indication that the Federal Council automatically adopts the EU sanctions, but proof, because an independent decision would require reading and analysis – there was no time for that. The FAQ on the website of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) nevertheless lies to the Swiss population:
“Does Switzerland automatically adopt the sanctions of the European Union (EU)?”
“Switzerland decides for itself to what extent it adopts EU sanctions; there is no automatic mechanism in this respect.”
If you read the sanctions regulation, it becomes clear what the aim of the sanctions actually is: the destruction of the Russian economy. Everything from diesel engines to bathing slippers is sanctioned. In my opinion, it would have been much easier to specify what is not to be sanctioned.
Switzerland imposes significantly more sanctions on Russia than the EU
To describe Switzerland as a follower of the EU would be an understatement. Many people in Switzerland are not aware that Switzerland has imposed significantly more sanctions against Russia than the EU – hard to believe, but it is true.
Since March 2022, Switzerland – as a neutral country – has been on Russia’s list of unfriendly states. To date, there are 48 states on this list.
The consequences for countries on this list are primarily of a commercial nature with regard to trade, imports and exports, but never go as far as the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Zelensky’s 10-point plan
President Selenski’s 10-point peace plan can only be described as the wish list of someone who has lost all touch with reality. You can find a link to this list here.
We will only mention points 5 (territorial integrity), 8 (environmental damage) and 9 (security guarantees) to show that this plan is doomed to failure:
Russia has campaigned for a diplomatic solution for decades and, even shortly after the start of the war in April 2022, would have agreed to the Donbas remaining Ukrainian if Ukraine remained neutral. The peace negotiations in March and April 2022, which were a success and one signature away from peace, were torpedoed at the last minute by Boris Johnson as the messenger of the USA – the war continued. We reported on this.
Russia should return all the territories that belong to Russia today, Crimea, Saparosh, Kherson, Lugansk and Donetsk: This will not happen, as these territories belong to Russia today and a referendum in September 2022 showed a popular approval of well over 90% – even the RAND Corporation did not doubt the result of this referendum.
It goes without saying that the Western media is concealing the fact that the war began in 2014 and that over 16,000 civilians were killed by Ukrainian artillery fire in Donetsk between 2014 and February 2022. At no time did the Russian army attack the civilian population during the fighting – this is a Ukrainian preference. Only a few days ago, 27 people died in Donetsk – unmentioned war crimes.
This point refers to the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. The Ukrainians claim that the Russians blew it up, but there is clear evidence that the Ukrainians did so.
Ukraine’s integration into NATO. NATO’s eastward expansion has been Russia’s major security problem since the 1990s and is also the reason for the Ukraine conflict. It can therefore be ruled out that Russia will accept a connection to NATO.
Demands are at odds with reality
Western propaganda has been proclaiming the demise of the Russian army since March 2022. However, the reality is different. The Ukrainian army is on the brink, the losses on the Ukrainian side are horrendous, aid from the USA has stopped and even forced recruitment will not raise the urgently needed 500,000 soldiers, who, incidentally, will be sent to the front as cannon fodder after a 2-week quick bleach. The war is lost. We already reported on this in September.
Russia’s willingness to negotiate
During an interview with CBS News in New York on January 23, Sergei Lavrov rejected a recent claim by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who claimed that Moscow has not shown “a willingness to engage, to negotiate in good faith” to end the conflict with Kiev.
“This is not true,” Lavrov emphasized, adding that Russia has always been ready to discuss “any serious proposal” that addresses the situation on the ground and the causes of the hostilities. Moscow is also ready to find a solution “that guarantees the legitimate national interests of Russia and the Ukrainian people”, the diplomat explained.
Sergei Lavrov thus confirmed that negotiations are always possible, but that they must be conducted on a realistic basis.
Federal Councillor Cassis speaks of talks with Lavrov – the answer is threatening
On January 23, Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis tweeted from the UN and claimed that he had discussed important matters with Sergei Lavrov.
— Ignazio Cassis (@ignaziocassis) January 23, 2024
Mr. Cassis may have shaken Mr. Lavrov’s hand in the corridor of the UN building, the conversation was short and the answer terse and chilly.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the following:
“The Russian minister offered a principled assessment of Switzerland’s continued drift away from the principles of neutrality and its reckless support for the Kiev regime, emphasising that Russia takes such actions and unfriendly policy into consideration when planning its approach to the Swiss track.”
That doesn’t sound very friendly. I am certainly no diplomat, but when a diplomat tells me that my unfriendly policy should be taken into account when planning his approach, it does not bode well. Looking at this statement through the Russian lens – that is, taking into account the Russian mentality – it can be expected that Russia will mention its displeasure with Switzerland in talks with China and other major allies. This exhausts my ability to diplomatically package the possible consequences for Switzerland as a non-diplomat.
Conclusion – Switzerland on the diplomatic offside
Switzerland has abandoned its neutrality on several levels: Firstly, as a neutral country one does not fraternize with a warring party; intimate embraces with the head of state of a party are not only unprofessional, but show partisanship.
Als neutrales Land lässt man nicht die Flaggen einer Kriegspartei in den Städten wehen.
As a neutral country, you are impartial and do not sanction one of the warring parties, and it is particularly bad if Switzerland, as a “neutral” country, imposes significantly more sanctions on Russia than the EU.
“Pregnant or not pregnant.”
I consider the discussion in the Swiss media about the extent to which neutrality can be considered relative to be helpless and ridiculous. It’s like the term “pregnant”; there are two aggregate states: pregnant or not pregnant.
The consequences are already there: The peace negotiations in March/April 2022 did not take place in Switzerland, but in Turkey.
Our foreign minister’s exploratory talks are followed by a message from Russia that can only be interpreted as a reprimand.
Sooner or later, there will be negotiations – Switzerland will no longer play a role, as it is no longer trustworthy – a pity.
There are voices claiming that the Russian central bank’s frozen foreign currency will soon be confiscated. If Switzerland goes along with this raid, Russia will react – also against Switzerland. If we assume that Switzerland holds around CHF 28 billion as investments in Russia and could confiscate around CHF 7 billion, I don’t believe that this will be a good deal for Switzerland in the event of an escalation.
I cannot judge whether the neutrality initiative will be able to save this complete disaster for Switzerland, but I can only provide the link here – it can’t do any harm.
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