The Ukrainian wounded will not be treated in Switzerland, despite NATO’s request, to avoid contradicting the principle of neutrality of the Central European country, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) confirmed to AFP on Monday.

“Switzerland, through its aid and humanitarian commitment, provides, in principle, better quality and more effective support on the spot than if the patients were hosted in Switzerland,” the FDFA said.

The ministry has stressed that receiving Ukrainian fighters would be problematic for the country’s neutrality, a cornerstone of its foreign policy for more than two centuries.

According to article 37 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, the wounded and sick exfiltrated from a conflict zone must be “in the custody of the neutral State”, so that they “can no longer participate in operations of war”.

The request, which came from a NATO body that coordinates medical evacuations out of Ukraine, was well received by the cantons before an unfavorable notice from the FDFA in mid-June cut it short, according to the Swiss newspaper ’24 heures’.

After consulting various ministries, “the preparatory measures already adopted in Switzerland have been suspended,” confirmed the DFAE.

Bern favors supporting Ukrainian hospitals, explains the ministry, while admitting the difficulty of “distinguishing civilian and military patients” among wounded combatants.

Conforms to The Trust Project criteria