Switzerland to close its airspace to all participants in Russia-Ukraine War
The Swiss government has decided to close its airspace to all “participants” in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The ban is designed to affirm Switzerland’s status as a neutral country after it imposed sanctions on Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine.
Military and lethal aid shipments barred from Swiss airspace
On March 11, the Federal Council met to discuss how to react to the escalating conflict in Ukraine, and the increasing amount of military aid being given to Ukrainian forces by western nations. Chief among the concerns was how to react to fly through requests made by NATO members supplying the weapons. Russian planes remain banned from Swiss and European airspace.
The council decided that “any requests to fly over Swiss territory from the parties in the conflict, and other states aiming to provide military support to the parties in the conflict, notably to deliver war material, will not be granted.” In practice, this means that any weapons deliveries will not be able to pass through Swiss airspace on their way to Ukraine, as the country deems the through shipment of weapons to be used in an ongoing conflict as a violation of its neutrality.
Decision will not include humanitarian aid or medical flights
The council was quick to clarify that the decision did not include humanitarian missions like the delivery of vital aid or medical flights. It will also not prevent Ukrainian refugees from entering the country.
The decision comes amid calls for Switzerland to clearly define its role in the conflict, after many accused Switzerland of violating its neutrality when it decided to impose sanctions. The government said that the decision to impose sanctions, and the other ways Switzerland has helped Ukraine, "Is compatible with Switzerland’s neutrality.”