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German ammunition plant to sidestep Swiss re-export ban

German Gepard anti-aircraft tank
A lack of Swiss-made ammunition is limiting the impact of German anti-aircraft tanks in Ukraine. Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

German weapons manufacturer Rheinmetall will build a new factory in Germany in response to Switzerland’s refusal to allow its ammunition to be re-exported to Ukraine.

Switzerland has repeatedly denied German demands to allow shipments of Swiss-made ammunition to be sent to Ukraine for use in Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.

The Swiss government argues that this would damage its position of political neutrality and is holding firm against increasing pressure from Europe.

This has left the anti-aircraft tanks in Ukraine short of ammunition to defend against Russian aerial attacks.

The military ordinance company Rheinmetall now plans to build a factory on German soil to produce the ammunition. The plant could be ready for production by as early as June 2023.

“I am very relieved that the industry has reacted so quickly,” German parliamentary defense committee chair Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, said on Thursday, reports Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

“In future, more ammunition, which we urgently need, will be produced in Germany,” she added, underlining that “it is essential that Germany becomes more independent in the production of ammunition, in cooperation with its NATO partners”.

It is unclear what impact the German munitions factory will have on demand for Swiss made ordinance in future.


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