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Switzerland reportedly blocks Danish request to send tanks to Ukraine

The Swiss government has vetoed Denmark’s request to send Swiss-made armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine, Swiss broadcaster SRF reported on Wednesday.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), a Swiss government body in charge of arms exports, rejected the request on the grounds of the country’s neutrality, which prohibits it from supplying arms to conflict zones.

Denmark wanted to send 20 Swiss-made Piranha tanks to Ukraine, but Switzerland’s neutrality policy requires foreign countries that buy Swiss arms to have permission to export them.

In April, SECO had refused Germany’s request to re-export Swiss-made ammunition used in Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.

In the wake of the war, Berlin faced huge pressure at home and abroad to abandon its reluctance to provide weapons to Ukraine, and Bern is also having its neutrality strongly tested as some Swiss authorities have voiced their support for European states to pass on Swiss arms under certain conditions.

The leader of the Green party in parliament, Tiana Moser, told SRF that it was less about direct arms exports than having weapons passed on “to a country that is defending itself against an aggressor.”

Over the last three months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked Western countries to send more weapons as the country faces intensified shelling from Russian troops in the Donbas region.

SECO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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