The Swiss foreign ministry has issued a statement strongly condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine as an “invasion”. It called on Russia to immediately cease its “military aggression” and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
“This is a gross violation of international law,” the foreign ministry tweeted on Thursday. “International humanitarian law must be respected. We are very concerned about the danger to innocent civilians.”
The ministry recommended that Swiss nationals in Ukraine leave the country by their own means if it appeared possible and safe to do so. It also advised Swiss not to travel to Ukraine. The foreign ministry advised Swiss nationals who need assistance to contact the Swiss embassy in Kyiv, which remains operational.
Charity Caritas Switzerland said it had made an emergency contribution of CHF200,000 ($217,000). Together with Caritas Ukraine, this will provide people in eastern Ukraine with the most basic necessities, it said. Donations can be made on its websiteExternal link.
European Union leaders will discuss tough new sanctions on Russia at an emergency meeting on Thursday in reaction to its “barbaric attack” on Ukraine, the 27-nation bloc’s officials said.
Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast on Thursday, officials and media said, after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation in the east.
The EU approved a first round of sanctions on Wednesday, including blacklisting Russian politicians and curbing trade between the EU and two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine whose independence Putin has recognised.
Shortly after Putin spoke in a televised address on Russian state television, explosions could be heard in the pre-dawn quiet of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Gunfire rattled near the capital’s main airport, the Interfax news agency said, and sirens were heard over the city.
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