Former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, who is also Kyiv’s mayor, was interviewed by the Swiss media outlet 20 minuten on Friday. He took the opportunity to thank Switzerland for its support while implicitly criticizing the Swiss government's militarily neutral stance. 

“As is well known, Switzerland tries to be militarily neutral. It is involved in humanitarian aid by providing us with ambulances and medical equipment, and last winter it gave us generators. Switzerland has also taken in many Ukrainian refugees.

“I would like to thank you very much for all of this,” he said.

However, he then justified Ukraine’s advocacy for military aid to defend itself, saying that the world is “increasingly black and white” and one needs to take a stance in the face of Russia’s genocide.

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“You cannot be neutral in this war. You have to take a stand against terror and genocide – and that's what's happening in Ukraine right now.

“You either defend human rights or a dictatorship. Today's world is increasingly black and white. We defend our country and want defensive weapons to do so. There's nothing wrong with that,” he added.

Switzerland’s historic decision to impose sanctions on Russia following the 2022 full-scale invasion, deviated from its longstanding neutral policy, but it refrained from providing military aid and banned re-exports of Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine, which arose from a “legal framework” according to the March statement of President Alain Berset.

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Despite being a neutral state, Switzerland is also known for its extensive involvement in arms manufacture, which includes SIG Sauer AG, which produces service pistols for the US Armed Forces. In 2022, Swiss arms manufacturers exported CHF. 955 million ($1.02 billion) worth of armaments to 60 countries.

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