Swiss parliamentary committee backs $5.5 billion aid plan for Ukraine

By Thomson Reuters Apr 26, 2024 | 1:06 AM

ZURICH (Reuters) – A Swiss parliamentary committee late on Thursday voted to back a 5 billion Swiss franc ($5.5 billion) aid contribution for Ukraine as part of a broader package aimed at improving neutral Switzerland’s defense capabilities.

Supported by lawmakers from centre-left and centre-right parties, the security committee of the upper house of parliament approved the package to provide 10.1 billion francs in additional funds for the army, along with the Ukraine sum.

The plan, which still faces a series of parliamentary hurdles before it can become law, passed by 8 votes to 5, with right-wing parties opposing the deal.

In a statement, parliament said the multi-billion dollar package was conceived as an extraordinary contribution toward the security of Switzerland and “peace in Europe” because of the war being waged by Russia against Ukraine.

Switzerland is under pressure from Western allies to do more to help Ukraine even as right-wing nationalists in parliament press for the country to remain strictly neutral.

The Ukraine part of the package intends to support the reconstruction and repair of day-to-day infrastructure necessary for life and survival in Ukraine, parliament said.

The committee voted through the plan less than two months before Switzerland is due to host a high-level international conference aimed at helping to bring peace to Ukraine.

($1 = 0.9132 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Michael Perry)