ZURICH (Reuters) – Neutral Switzerland has held up German arms deliveries to Ukraine by blocking the re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used in Marder infantry fighting vehicles that Kyiv would like to get, Swiss paper SonntagsZeitung reported.
The news comes as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz faces growing criticism for his government’s failure to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine to help it fend off Russian attacks, even as other Western allies step up shipments.
The Marder, made by German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, uses ammunition manufactured in Switzerland, the paper said. Switzerland restricts the re-export of such war materiel to conflict zones.
The paper quoted a spokesperson for the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) as saying it had received two inquiries from Germany about transferring to Ukraine munitions it had got from Switzerland.
“Both of Germany’s requests were answered in the negative with reference to Swiss neutrality and the mandatory rejection criteria of the war material legislation,” it quoted the spokesperson as saying.
SECO was not immediately available for comment on Sunday outside of regular business hours.
Switzerland has departed with past practice and adopted European Union sanctions designed to punish Russian for invading Ukraine, but has said its neutrality does not permit providing arms in conflict zones.
Last month it rejected Poland’s request for arms to help neighbouring Ukraine.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)