The US is apparently blackmailing Switzerland to force the country to play a more active role in the Ukrainian conflict. The American embassy in Switzerland suggests that neutrality would no longer be a possible path for the European country, which sounds like a kind of threat if the Swiss government does not adopt an anti-Russian military policy.
In a recent interview, the American ambassador in Switzerland Scott Miller stated that Switzerland was going through a serious crisis, in which the country would need to decide on what "neutrality" means. Miller claims that the US supports Swiss neutrality but does not consider this principle to be “static”, believing in a Swiss obligation to help the West as much as possible to tighten sanctions against Moscow.
There is currently a huge debate among Swiss parliamentarians over whether to allow the shipment of Swiss-made weapons to the Kiev regime. NATO enthusiasts support the measure as a form of military aid to Ukraine against the Russians. On the other hand, more conservative politicians are against changes in legislation as they understand that this would affect the country's historical neutrality. Under current law, there is a ban on all forms of re-export of Swiss-made weapons. This means that non-neutral countries are not able to buy Swiss weapons and ship them to Kiev. This law deeply irritates the member states of NATO, since, according to Scott Miller, it “benefits the aggressor, who violates all principles of international law.”
However, Ambassador Miller went beyond what was expected in his demands. In addition to banning the anti-re-export law, he openly demanded the freezing of all Russian assets in Swiss financial institutions. According to him, this is a way for Switzerland to endorse the sanctions and help Ukraine more actively.
“Switzerland is in the most serious crisis since the Second World War. It is confronted with what neutrality means (...) We understand and respect it. But it is not a static construct. Switzerland can’t call itself neutral and allow one or both sides to exploit its laws to their own advantage (...) I think we still have a lot of work to do (...) Sanctions are only as strong as the political will behind them. We need to find as many assets as possible, freeze them and, if necessary, confiscate them in order to make them available to Ukraine for reconstruction", he said.
The spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova understood the words of the American diplomat as a real threat. According to her, there is a parallel between Miller's suggestions and the recent crisis at Credit Suisse, an important local financial institution that went into deep debt and requested tens of billions in loans from the Central Bank to continue working. Zakharova also recalled the American banking crisis and suggested that Miller could be blackmailing the Swiss into serving US interests - possibly in exchange for some help to prevent local banks from going the same way as the American ones, or, in the worst case, this could even be a direct threat of sabotage.
“Considering that the second-largest Swiss bank plunged right after three American banks went bust, such a statement looks like direct blackmail", she said, adding that the essence of Miller’s message is: “drop neutrality and start sending weapons to the Kiev regime, and you’ll keep living full-bellied and lavishly; refuse – and bad days are in order”.
Recently, blackmail and threats have become America's main methods in foreign policy. Furthermore, the country has already demonstrated that it has no respect for its partners and allies, considering that illegal and even terrorist acts have been carried out to force them to meet US interests - such as what was seen in the attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines in Germany. So, it is possible that Miller's message consists of a warning that either Switzerland changes its policy of neutrality, or it will be the target of American reprisals - certainly in the banking sector, which is the central part of the Swiss economy.
The Swiss government bears no responsibility for the Ukrainian conflict. As a historically neutral country, it is under no obligation to send weapons to Kiev and would be breaking with its own diplomatic tradition if it bans the anti-export law. Furthermore, as a country with a bank-centered economy, freezing all Russian assets does not sound strategic for Switzerland. Taking the measures demanded by the US would be disastrous for the country, both in terms of economy and defense.