President Cassis meets President Zelenskyy and discusses Ukraine recovery

Bern, 20.10.2022 - President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis arrived in Ukraine on Thursday 20 October for a visit. In Kyiv today, he had talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The discussions focused on the current war situation, humanitarian needs and the preparatory work for the country's recovery and development plan, which was launched at the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022) in Lugano earlier this summer. Mr Cassis will also visit recovery-related projects supported by Switzerland. He will subsequently travel to Moldova, where he will meet with President Maia Sandu.

One year after his last visit, Mr Cassis has travelled to Ukraine again in order to gain a first-hand impression of the situation and humanitarian needs on the ground, and to discuss with the Ukrainian co-organisers of URC2022 how recovery in the war-torn country can be implemented and advanced. During the meeting with President Zelenskyy, the main topics discussed were the situation in the country, namely Russian airstrikes on residential areas in Ukraine, the current situation on the front lines and the challenges of the approaching winter. The two presidents also discussed Swiss support for Ukraine at the bilateral and multilateral level.

Talks focus on concrete implementation of the Lugano Principles
During his visit to Kyiv, Mr Cassis also met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, with whom he had hosted URC2022 in Lugano three months ago. The focus of the conversation was on the follow-up to the conference and how the basic parameters of recovery agreed at URC2022 can be effectively implemented for Ukraine. "I would have preferred to return here in different circumstances. But right now it is more important than ever to be here. Together with the Ukrainian government, we are assessing in concrete terms what the most pressing humanitarian needs are. We are also keen to support innovative Ukrainian efforts for the nation's recovery.

The Ukrainian recovery plan presented in Lugano and the Lugano Principles defined there provide the framework for this," said Cassis in Kyiv. Mr Cassis also underscored Switzerland's solidarity with the Ukrainian people and once again condemned the serious violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty: "Switzerland consistently calls on Russia in multilateral bodies as well as in bilateral meetings to de-escalate and to withdraw completely from Ukrainian territories."

During the meetings, a memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation on digital transformation and two declarations of intent on cooperation in the fields of missing persons and forensics were signed.

During his trip, Mr Cassis visited suburbs of Kyiv where the consequences of the war are visible, but where effective reconstruction is also taking place. While in Kyiv, he also met representatives of civil society to exchange on concrete efforts for recovery. The Lugano Principles negotiated at URC2022 provide for the active participation of the population in the recovery process in order to ensure a sustainable and fair outcome.

Swiss commitment in Ukraine
Switzerland has supported Ukraine in its reform efforts for years and is currently actively using its cooperation projects and expertise on the ground to aid reconstruction. Swiss Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine is responding to the urgent needs of the population, currently focusing on the areas of food security, protection of victims and their rights, health, and water and sanitation. For example, Switzerland is supporting rural Ukrainian communities in the Sumy and Chernihiv regions with expertise and material for the rehabilitation and modernisation of destroyed water supply and sanitation facilities. Since the beginning of the war, the SDC has transported over 680 tonnes of aid from Switzerland to Ukraine and purchased over 4,750 tonnes of food in Ukraine to support the population. A further delivery of Swiss aid – including firefighting and rubble removal equipment – is currently en route, travelling overland in staggered deliveries.

After Kyiv, Mr Cassis will travel on to Moldova, where he will meet with President Maia Sandu in Chișinău, for talks on the impact of the war on her country and in particular the humanitarian situation. Mr Cassis will be accompanied on his trip by National Councillor Marianne Binder-Keller (member of the Political Institutions Committee and Control Committee of the National Council) and member of the Council of States Mathias Zopfi (President of the Political Institutions Committee and member of the Security Policy Committee).

"On the Road from Lugano"
In Lugano, Ukraine launched a broad-based political process for the nation's recovery, with the support of Switzerland. On Tuesday 25 October, Mr Cassis will attend the International Expert Conference on the Recovery of Ukraine in Berlin, at the invitation of the German G7 presidency and the EU Commission. The conference is part of international efforts – initiated with URC2022 in Lugano – to support Ukraine in rebuilding the necessary structures. In Berlin, Mr Cassis will also report on his impressions from Kyiv. The second edition of the Ukraine Recovery Conference will be hosted by the United Kingdom next year.

Comment for media: Please find the video of the press briefing with Presidents Cassis and Zelenskyy under the following link:

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