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Grounded


Russian pilots uninvited from Swiss air show




This year is the 50th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse display team  (Keystone)

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse display team 

(Keystone)

The Swiss defence ministry has decided to cancel participation by Russian pilots and aircraft in the Air14 air show. It based its decision on its policy of “exercising restraint in the area of military contacts” with Russia.

A squadron of the Russian Knights display team, flying Su-27 fighter aircraft, was scheduled to take part in Air14, which is taking place on two weekends: August 30-31 and September 6-7. 

The show is celebrating the centenary of the Swiss Air Force, the 50th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse display team and the 25th anniversary of the PC-7 training team. 

On Tuesday, the defence ministry said it had decided, in consultation with the foreign ministry, to cancel Russian participation. 

“Even in times of crisis it is important to maintain contacts. Nevertheless, military contacts are of a special nature and in the present circumstances it would be preferable to show restraint,” the defence ministry wrote in a statement. “Participation by the Russian Knights in Air14 would not be appropriate at this time.” 

Sanctions

Marking 200 years of diplomatic relations with Russia this year, Switzerland has also invited the speaker of Russia's Lower House of parliament, Sergey Narychkine, for festivities next month. 

However, he has been officially blacklisted as part of sanctions against Moscow following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March. 

Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, the Swiss have extended measures to ensure they are not used as a way to sidestep sanctions put in place by the European Union, but, as a global commodity trading and private banking hub popular with Russia’s wealthy elite, they have not introduced specific restrictions against Russia.

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