The Russian foreign ministry has criticised what it labels the “arbitrary” understanding of history of Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, as well as Switzerland’s neutral position on the Ukraine war.
In a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday by the Russian embassy in Bern, diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticised Cassis (also the current Swiss foreign minister) for an interview he gave to Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidien.
In the interview, Cassis said the Russian attack on Ukraine signalled the end “of an era – since the end of the Second World War – during which no sovereign and democratic nation on the [European] continent had been attacked”.
For Zakharova, this is not correct: “the erosion of the foundations of the post-war period and the destruction of international law were the result of bombs and missiles dropped by NATO on peaceful Yugoslav towns in 1999”, her statement read.
“This arbitrary interpretation, based on political motives”, is “completely unacceptable”, she said.
Zakharova also used the opportunity to criticise the Swiss reaction to the mass graves discovered at Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, last week.
The Swiss foreign ministry “ignored our detailed declaration following the barbaric crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime in Bucha and Kramatorsk, and unreservedly placed the entire responsibility on the Russian side,” Zakharova said.
Condemning Swiss declarations about these crimes, she said she hoped that for the Swiss government, the principle of neutrality was not just about “nice words”.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Switzerland has followed the European Union sanctions against Moscow and has regularly condemned the conflict and the alleged violations of international humanitarian law which have emerged.
Cassis, who last week said the images of the “atrocities” in Bucha were “shocking”, nevertheless urged a measured response and an international court proceeding to “create clarity” and determine who the perpetrators were.
Contacted by the Keystone-SDA news agency on Tuesday, the Swiss foreign ministry declined to respond to the latest Russian statement.
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