Spain’s attempt to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft guns made in Switzerland has failed. This became clear after Bern confirmed that such a delivery would be in violation of the arms re-export law. These are anti-aircraft guns measuring 35 mm. This is not the first time that European countries have attempted to supply Swiss weapons to Ukraine. Denmark and Germany ran into a “Swiss wall” last year when their request was also denied.
The news of the Swiss rejection of the Spanish request was first reported by the Spanish news agency EFE. The press release does not specify which 35mm anti-aircraft system was rejected.
Experts from BulgarianMilitary.com believe it is a 35 mm Oerlikon GDF twin cannon towed anti-aircraft gun. After acquiring the original developer, Oerlikon Contraves, in 2009, the Swiss branch of Rheinmetall Air Defense produced this weapon.
The fire control system automatically controls the anti-aircraft gun. The gun can be operated independently using electronic manual control and a visor with a laser-distance measuring unit based on an autonomous computer.
Swiss law and armed conflicts
According to Swiss law, re-export to countries in a state of armed conflict is prohibited. As a result, Ukraine cannot claim Swiss weapons supplies. According to Swiss law, any foreign operator of Swiss arms must obtain official permission from Bern for future re-exports.
In 2022, Germany requested that Cheetah battle tanks be sent to Ukraine, and Denmark later requested that twenty Piranha III battle tanks be sent to Ukraine. Bern, as previously stated, rejected and prohibited such supplies.
Swiss neutrality is well-known throughout the world, though it was highly contentious during World War II, when the Nazis profited from the sale of Swiss optical sights, railways, and the country’s financial banking system.
The Ukrainian conflict sparked a public debate in Switzerland. There is growing pressure on Bern to lift the ban on the Ukraine war. The country’s parliament has begun a debate on making “necessary corrections” to Swiss legislation regarding the re-export of locally produced weapons. However, for the time being, the Swiss government remains neutral in accordance with local law, remaining on the sidelines of the debate.