Swiss lower house votes against $5.5Bln aid package to Ukraine
The Swiss National Council opposed providing Ukraine with a 5 billion franc aid program.
The Swiss National Council, the country's lower house of parliament, voted on Thursday against providing Ukraine with a 5 billion Swiss franc ($5.5 billion) aid package for humanitarian assistance, civilian protection, and mine clearance, citing several issues concerning the country's reconstruction.
"The National Council is currently opposed to providing Ukraine with the 5 billion franc aid program. On Thursday, it rejected the proposal of the Foreign Affairs Committee to grant the aid package for a period of five to 10 years. The proposal has been withdrawn," the statement, published by the Swiss parliament, read.
The document added that "The funds were earmarked for humanitarian aid, protection of civilians, mine clearance and 'peace consolidation'."
Meanwhile, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told a parliamentary session that the country will continue to assist Ukraine in rebuilding, but that several issues relating to the country's reconstruction and international cooperation in this field needed to be clarified.
On June 12, the Council of States, the upper chamber of parliament, will debate a similar plan to send Ukraine a 5 billion franc package, according to the paper.
Since the outbreak of hostilities with Russia in February 2022, Western countries have been supplying Ukraine with increasingly powerful weapons.
Pascale Baeriswyl, Switzerland's permanent representative to the United Nations, stated in May that re-exporting Swiss weapons to Ukraine would be difficult without a modification in the legislation.
The Alpine country has frequently refused demands from Germany, Spain, and Denmark to re-export Swiss-made munitions to Kiev, citing the country's military neutrality principle. Bern, according to Swiss authorities, has the authority to deny the re-export of war materials if the country to which they are destined is embroiled in an international armed conflict.
Two days earlier, it was announced that the Biden administration and Congress were collectively working toward sending $37 million in cyber aid to Ukraine after another round of the US-Ukraine Cyber Dialogue that took place in Tallinn, Estonia this month, the US State Department reported on Monday.
In a press release, the State Department said that the United States and Ukraine met in Tallinn on June 1, 2023, to reconvene the US-Ukraine Cyber Dialogue, which is an annual discussion on cyber policy issues, adding that "during the dialogue, the US delegation reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to support Ukraine's cyber defenses in the face of Russia's unprovoked aggression. As part of this support, the United States is working with Congress to provide an additional $37 million in cyber assistance to Ukraine."
The new assistance would lift the total amount of US cyber aid to Ukraine to $82 million since February 2022 and to $120 million since 2016, the release added.
Moreover, the US Department of Defense released its new 2023 Cyber Strategy in May, saying that the document was partially informed by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and described how the US military is expected to operate in cyberspace amid increasing threats.