No Swiss cabinet minister will represent Switzerland at ceremonies in Moscow and Kiev next month to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Instead, the Swiss ambassadors to Russia and Ukraine will attend.
The cabinet said in a statement on Wednesday that this was in keeping with its tradition of participating “with the appropriate restraint and discretion in commemorations of international historic events”.
Ukraine will celebrate the end of the hostilities during a “day of remembrance and reconciliation” in Kiev on May 8. The following day, Russia will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the victory in the “Great Patriotic War” in Moscow.
The cabinet said it had decided to maintain its policy of previous years: the Swiss ambassador in Moscow attended the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 2010 to honour the memory of the 27 million citizens of the Soviet Union “who paid the heaviest price for this tragedy that destabilised the world”.
The conflict in Ukraine has resulted in several Western leaders declining the invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande, US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will all be absent. From the EU, only Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras und Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades have accepted.
swissinfo.ch and agencies