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Russia rejects Swiss offer as Europe wades deeper into Ukraine war

The file photo shows the Swiss embassy in Moscow.

Moscow has rejected Switzerland’s offer to represent Ukraine diplomatically in Russia as it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral state.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ivan Nechayev announced on Thursday that his government had turned down the offer. “Switzerland had unfortunately lost its status of a neutral state and could not act either as an intermediary or a representative. Bern has joined illegal Western sanctions against Russia.”

Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, Switzerland has applied nearly all the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia. In response, Russia has added Switzerland to a list of “unfriendly” nations.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Foreign Ministry has confirmed it worked out the outline of a “mandate of protecting power” and awaits the Russian approval. According to the Swiss public radio RTS, the primary objective of the agreement would be to ensure that the Ukrainians living in Russia could benefit from consular services provided by the Swiss Embassy in Moscow, as there are no diplomatic relations between Kiev and Moscow.

The Russian embassy in Switzerland also hit back at the proposal and said, “Swiss neutrality has been devalued to a certain extent, since the Confederation adopted all of the European Union’s seven packages of illegitimate anti-Russian restrictions, in fact taking the side of one of the parties to the conflict.”

UK, Denmark provide Ukraine with military, financial aid

Britain and Denmark are set to provide Ukraine with more military and financial assistance, in what Russia has termed intervention and fanning the flames of war.

In a meeting between the European defense ministers in Copenhagen on Thursday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said his government would send further multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukraine to be used against Russian forces. It would also donate a “significant number” of precision guided M31A1 missiles that can strike targets up to 80 kilometers away.

“This latest tranche of military support will enable the armed forces of Ukraine to continue to defend against Russian aggression and the indiscriminate use of long-range artillery,” Wallace said in a statement.

The UK has already donated advanced weapons systems to Ukraine and provided military training for thousands of Ukrainian military forces.

And, Denmark will ramp up its financial support to Ukraine by 110 million euros, according to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

“This is a war on the values that Europe and the free world are built upon ... Today we reaffirm our commitment to support of Ukraine,” she said during her speech in the conference in Copenhagen hosted by Ukraine, Denmark and Britain.

More than 50 percent of the financial aid announced on Thursday will be spent on weapons procurement and support of weapons production. The rest will be spent on supplies of Danish weapons, military equipment, and military training.

Over the past months, most Western governments, including the UK and the US, have indirectly involved themselves in the war, providing lethal arms for Kiev and imposing a raft of sanctions against Russia.

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