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Aid dilemma


Swiss suspend Crimean development project


With Crimea now on Moscow time, the Swiss do not know if they can pursue their development aid there (Keystone)

With Crimea now on Moscow time, the Swiss do not know if they can pursue their development aid there

(Keystone)

The uncertainty in Crimea and its annexation by Russia has led the Swiss authorities to suspend a development aid project on the peninsula, a project aimed at helping mothers and their children.

The foreign ministry told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper that the situation in Crimea made it impossible to pursue these projects for the time being.

The Swiss cooperation office and the embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kiev are watching developments and trying to find out what can still be done.

Other activities in Ukraine are also being reviewed due to the political situation.

The suspended project in Crimea was part of the Ukrainian-Swiss Mother and Child Health Programme. Run by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, one of its goals is to reduce infant mortality rates, which are well above the European average.

The programme has under way in four regions including Crimea, and has involved training for local staff as well as providing medical equipment.

Funding is guaranteed until 2015, with the current phase from 2011 until next year costing the Swiss CHF4.79 million ($5.4 million). Altogether, Switzerland spends around CHF20 million per year for development aid in Ukraine on projects for healthcare, governance and energy management.

Switzerland ended its development aid projects in Russia, which has occupied Crimea after the local population voted in favour of the annexation, a number of years ago.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



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