Reuters
May 16, 2022

Analysis-Neutral Switzerland leans closer to NATO in response to Russia

Switzerland’s fabled neutral status is about to face its biggest test in decades, with the defence ministry tilting closer to Western military powers….

The defence ministry is drawing up a report on security options that include joint military exercises with NATO countries and “backfilling” munitions, Paelvi Pulli, head of security policy at the Swiss defence ministry told Reuters.

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“Ultimately, there could be changes in the way neutrality is interpreted,” Pulli said in an interview last week. On a trip to Washington this week, Defence Minister Viola Amherd said Switzerland should work more closely with the U.S.-led military alliance….

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Other options include high-level and regular meetings between Swiss and NATO commanders and politicians, she said.

Moving so much closer to the alliance would mark a departure from the carefully nurtured tradition of not taking sides that its supporters say helped Switzerland prosper peacefully and maintain a special role as intermediary, including during the West’s standoff with the Soviet Union.

The idea of full membership of NATO has been discussed, but whereas Sweden and Finland – countries that also have a history of neutrality – are on the verge of joining, Pulli said the report was unlikely to recommend Switzerland take that step.

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