Swiss prepare new 140 million franc aid package for Ukraine and Moldova
ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government is seeking parliamentary approval to send 140 million francs ($151 million) in further humanitarian aid to Ukraine and Moldova, the government said on Wednesday.
Switzerland has already allocated 1.3 billion francs to support Ukraine, including 270 million francs to help people in the country and 1.03 billion francs to support Ukrainians who have fled to Switzerland.
Around 75,000 Ukrainians have been granted refuge in Switzerland since the conflict began on Feb. 24 last year. Some 25,000 people are being hosted by Swiss families.
The government said it was convinced that continued support was needed to improve the "precarious situation" of the people in Ukraine, where 40%t of the population was reliant on aid.
"In a humanitarian way, diplomatically, and with reconstruction in mind, we can support Ukraine," Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told a press conference in Bern.
"The needs on the ground are immense," he added.
Most of the money - 114 million francs - is earmarked for Ukraine with 26 million francs for Moldova. The aid envisaged includes shelters for schools, repairs to hospitals and energy infrastructure, or small loans to small agricultural businesses.
Removal of mines and psychological and social support for the population are also among the projects which could be supported.
Neutral Switzerland has adopted European Union sanctions against Russia, including restrictions against 1,300 individuals and frozen 7.5 billion francs in assets.
But Bern has blocked the further export of Swiss-produced weapons by Germany, Denmark and Spain to Kyiv, citing its neutrality laws.
"The government is convinced that military support is not the correct path," Cassis told reporters.
($1 = 0.9270 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)