One year of war against Ukraine: Federal Council takes stock of its engagement and requests new aid package
Bern, 22.02.2023 - On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine in violation of international law. In response, the Federal Council decided to adopt the EU's sanctions against Russia, thus bolstering their impact. The Swiss government also provided humanitarian assistance to people affected by the war in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. In Switzerland, over 75,000 Ukrainians have been granted protection status S. One year after the military aggression began, the Federal Council expresses its solidarity with the war-stricken population, takes stock of its engagement and requests, at its meeting of 22 February 2023, the immediate release of a new aid package totalling CHF 140 million.
Russia's military attack against Ukraine on 24 February 2022 marked a paradigm shift in the continent's recent history. The Federal Council reiterates its condemnation of the attack in the strongest possible terms and calls for the cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine. The Federal Council also calls for respect for international humanitarian law. It also supports the international criminal investigations that the International Criminal Court has launched.
Switzerland has been working shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population and to promote a political solution to the conflict in due course. Right after Russia's military aggression against Ukraine started, the Swiss government thus began providing humanitarian support for the people in Ukraine and the neighbouring areas affected by the war. To date, over 1,000 tonnes of relief goods have been delivered and 4,765 tonnes of food have been purchased and distributed to the population in Ukraine. In Switzerland, more than 75,000 people from Ukraine have been granted protection status S since 11 March 2022. At its meeting of 22 February 2023, the Federal Council noted that it was heartened by the solidarity shown by the cantons, communes, civil society and private individuals in taking in people from Ukraine seeking protection. It thanks in particular the private individuals who are still hosting 25,000 refugees from Ukraine.
Since 24 February 2022, Switzerland has allocated around CHF 1.3 billion to aid measures in favour of Ukraine, including over CHF 270 million to support the country within the framework of international cooperation and other action, as well as about CHF 1.035 billion for hosting people from Ukraine seeking protection.
Another measure taken by the Swiss government was adopting the EU's sanctions against Russia. These sanctions include targeted measures against over 1,300 individuals and 170 institutions, the freezing of assets, numerous financial measures, the prohibition of trade in certain goods, entry bans and the prohibition of providing certain services to the Russian government or Russian companies.
To open up future prospects for the Ukrainian population, Switzerland also worked with Ukraine's government to launch the political recovery process with broad support: At the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano in July 2022, the Lugano Principles were set out in cooperation with 41 states and 18 international organisations. The Principles serve as the foundations of the political recovery process.
New aid package
The Federal Council is convinced that continued support is needed to improve the precarious situation of the people in Ukraine and to ensure the functioning of the state. Accordingly, the Federal Council is requesting a new emergency aid package of CHF 140 million for Ukraine and Moldova. CHF 114 million are earmarked for Ukraine and 26 million for Moldova.
Around 18 million people in Ukraine – some 40 per cent of the population – currently rely on aid due to the war. The aid envisaged in this emergency package builds on Switzerland's engagement in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. It is a targeted response to needs and requests from both countries in areas where Switzerland has specific expertise. The lines of action include shelter for schools, repairs to hospitals and energy infrastructure, small loans to agricultural SMEs, demining, psychosocial support for the population, and more. The two departments charged with international cooperation, the FDFA and the EAER, are responsible for implementation. They are contributing CHF 48 million from existing credits. The remaining CHF 92 million represent additional funding and are submitted with the first supplementary credit to Parliament for approval.
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