Switzerland could change stance on Danish military donation to Ukraine

A committee in the Swiss parliament on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for a ban on export of Swiss-produced military equipment to be lifted, opening the way for a Danish donation to Ukraine.

Switzerland could change stance on Danish military donation to Ukraine
A Piranha armoured vehicle on display in Denmark. File photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

If the ban is removed, countries with Swiss-produced military hardware will be able to send it to Ukraine, news wire AFP reported.

Any decision to lift the ban must be approved by the Swiss parliament.

The situation is relevant for Denmark because Copenhagen wants to send some of its Swiss-produced armoured vehicles to Ukraine.

Last year, a donation of 20 Swiss-made Piranha armoured vehicles to Ukraine by Denmark was blocked by Switzerland due to the latter country’s policy of military neutrality.

Switzerland currently prevents hardware it produced from being supplied to Ukraine under the neutrality policy, which extends to military assistance to Ukraine in defending itself against the Russian invasion.

Switzerland has previously turned down similar requests from Germany to re-export equipment bought from Switzerland.

Recent weeks have seen increasing pressure on the Swiss government to review the policy.

The parliament’s security policy committee with 14 votes in favour and 11 opposed to back a motion to request a law change to make such transfers possible, AFP reported.

That motion maintained it should be possible to revoke the declarations of non-reexport, which countries purchasing Swiss arms must sign, “in cases where there is a violation of the international ban on resorting to force, and specifically in the case of the Russian-Ukrainian war,” the commission said in a statement.

The Swiss government could still decide to continue barring the transfer of Swiss weaponry in cases where a repeal of the non-reexport declaration posed “major” risks to Swiss foreign policy, it said. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland vetoes Danish military donation to Ukraine

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Denmark to send decommissioned tanks to Ukraine

Denmark is to send Leopard 1A5 tanks which it had taken out of service to Ukraine, as part of donations to be made by several countries.

Denmark to send decommissioned tanks to Ukraine

Tanks previously used by the Danish military are to be prepared and sent to Ukraine, broadcaster DR reported on Tuesday.

No specific number for the total number of tanks has been confirmed and the participating countries not specified.

But a three-figure number of older models could be donated once contributions from all countries are added up, according to the report.

A newer version of the tank, the Leopard 2 model, is currently used by the Danish military.

Denmark’s old Leopard 1A5 tanks were sold in 2010 to company FFG in northern German town Flensburg, where they are still located, DR reports.

The tanks are expected to be sent to Ukraine in the coming months.

Media in Denmark including broadcaster TV2 last week reported that 99 Danish Leopard tanks could be sent to Ukraine.

The Danish tanks were originally used during the war in the Balkans in 1994.

A director with the German company told TV2 that there had been contact with the Danish government over the tanks.

“I wouldn’t call it negotiations but we have spoken about the tanks and what we can do,” the sales director, Thorsten Peter, said.

The tanks are not currently ready for active duty and must undergo work before being used, according to Peter.