January 17, 2023 | Defense News

World leaders should press Switzerland on arms deliveries to Ukraine

January 17, 2023 | Defense News

World leaders should press Switzerland on arms deliveries to Ukraine

Excerpt

As government officials and business leaders from around the world flock to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting this week, Ukrainian soldiers continue to fight and die to protect their homes — and the rest of Europe — from Russian aggression. Yet, Switzerland is blocking vital assistance.

Despite repeated pleas, Switzerland won’t allow Germany to give Ukraine much-needed Swiss-made air defense ammunition that can help protect Ukrainians from the Russian onslaught. As they descend on Davos, U.S. and allied officials should take this opportunity to press Switzerland to change course.

Berlin has provided Kyiv with Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns that have proved effective against the drones and cruise missiles Russia uses to bombard Ukraine’s electrical grid and other critical infrastructure. Gepards also proved useful in protecting Ukrainian ground troops during their counteroffensive in the Kharkiv oblast last September. Berlin intends to provide Kyiv with seven more Gepards, which could allow Ukraine to defend more critical infrastructure sites or deploy more of them to the front lines.

But these additional systems will be useless if Ukraine lacks sufficient ammunition to operate them. Kyiv is already running low, and could run out soon. The Germany company Rheinmetall is building a new facility that can produce the 35mm rounds fired by the Gepard, but it won’t begin production until June.

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Issues:

Military and Political Power Russia U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy Ukraine