Meanwhile, NATO member countries are pressing to expedite entry into the organization by both Finland and Sweden.
When Russia began its campaign in Ukraine, I do not suspect that its leaders fully calculated the impact of its action on other European nations.
If Putin and his cronies bet that other leaders would cower in fear, they are in for a disappointment. The miscalculation is so bad that even historically “neutral” Switzerland wonders whether to strengthen ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The defence ministry is drawing up a report on security options that include joint military exercises with NATO countries and “backfilling” munitions, Paelvi Pulli, head of security policy at the Swiss defence ministry told Reuters.
The details of the policy options under discussion in the government have not been previously reported.
“Ultimately, there could be changes in the way neutrality is interpreted,” Pulli said in an interview last week. On a trip to Washington this week, Defence Minister Viola Amherd said Switzerland should work more closely with the U.S.-led military alliance, but not join it, Swiss media reported.
Neutrality, which kept Switzerland out of both world wars during the 20th century, was not an objective in itself, but was intended to increase Swiss security, Pulli said.
The Swiss continue their precarious balancing act, and there appears to be much discussion as to what exactly is “neutral.”
But its government has been at pains in recent weeks to explain its concept of neutrality after lining up behind EU sanctions against Russia — and Swiss neutrality is analyzed almost daily in local media these days.
There’s little chance that Switzerland will stray further from its neutrality: Its government has already asked Germany not to pass along Swiss military equipment to Ukraine.
The populist, right-wing party that holds the largest bloc of seats in parliament has been hesitant about further measures against Russia, and the Swiss are fiercely protective of their role as mediator for rival states and as a hub of humanitarian action and human rights.
Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson expects possible cyberattacks from Russia as her country moves to join NATO.
Andersson was responding to a question from CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick during a press conference on Sunday in Stockholm.
“What kind of retaliation there can be? That’s up to Russia and President [Vladimir] Putin,” Andersson told Sedgwick.
“There could be the possibility of cyberattacks, hybrid attacks and other measures, but it’s all up to them,” she said.
Andersson added that the decision to join NATO is what is best for her country’s security.
“It’s not something against Russia, but it is what we think is best for us,” she said.
NATO member countries are pressing to expedite Finland and Sweden’s entry into the organization.
Norway, Denmark and Iceland strongly support Finland and Sweden joining nato and will support the two countries “by all means necessary” if they come under attack, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.
Denmark will assist Finland and Sweden if they will be victims of aggression on their territory before obtaining NATO membership, by all means, immediately initiating preparations in order to solidify these security assurances, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen added.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Canada was in favor of a “quick” accession to the NATO military alliance for Sweden and Finland.
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