With Finland and Sweden applying to join NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, neutral Switzerland is also leaning closer to NATO, reviewing joint military exercises with NATO member countries.
According to Reuters, Paelvi Pulli, head of security policy at the Swiss defense ministry, said on Monday that the ministry is writing a report that includes discussions on joint military exercises with NATO countries and backfilling munitions, adding high-level meetings between Switzerland and NATO commanders on a regular basis are also on the table.
Pulli said neutrality itself was not the objective for Switzerland in deciding not to participate in World War I and II, but because it was beneficial to Swiss security, adding giving up neutrality may be helpful in promoting national interest depending on the situation. Pulli went on to emphasize that there could ultimately be changes in the way neutrality is interpreted. Swiss Defence Minister Viola Amherd, who visited Washington, D.C. earlier on May 13, also said Switzerland should work closely with the U.S.-led military alliance.
Switzerland became neutral as a result of the Treaty of Paris signed between France and European countries in early 19th century following France’s defeat in the Battle of Waterloo. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, however, Switzerland is imposing sanctions against Russia, allowing the export of Swiss-made ammunition to Ukraine and freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs.
Public opinion is favorable toward the move. In a recent poll, 56 percent of the respondents said they support expanding relations with NATO. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the number only stood at 35 percent.
Seong-Ho Hwang email@example.com