War against Ukraine – measures taken by the Confederation since 24 February 2022

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine in violation of international law. In response, the Federal Council decided to adopt the EU's sanctions against Russia. One year after the military aggression began, the Federal Council expresses its solidarity with the war-stricken population and requests, at its meeting of 22.02.2023, the immediate release of a new aid package totalling CHF 140 million.

 Men in red jackets stand at the open door of a goods wagon and load boxes.
Members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) prepare a delivery of relief supplies to Ukraine. © FDFA

Updated: 15. May 2023

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine. The Federal Council immediately condemned Russia's intervention as a serious violation of international law. Specifically, Russia breached the international law principles prohibiting the use of force and respecting states' territorial integrity.

At the same time, the Federal Council expressed its concern for the population, and emphasised its solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Since the war against Ukraine began, the federal government has been active on a number of fronts to help people affected by the conflict.

On 22 February 2023, the Federal Council also requested a new emergency aid package. The 2023 Action Plan, worth CHF 140 million, is intended for Ukraine and Moldova.

Action Plan 2023 for Ukraine and the region at a glance (PDF, 3 Pages, 218.5 kB, German)

The assistance envisaged in this emergency aid package builds on Switzerland's engagement in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. It responds exactly to needs and requests from the two countries in areas where Switzerland has specific expertise.

Since the beginning of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, the Confederation has supported Ukraine and the war-affected population in the following areas.

Humanitarian aid

From the outset of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) assessed needs in Poland and Moldova and then worked closely with the Swiss Embassy in Kiev to set up material aid centres for people affected by the war. These centres then coordinated the delivery of relief supplies. To date, the Swiss government's humanitarian aid has transported more than 1,000 tonnes of material from Switzerland to Ukraine and purchased more than 4,765 tonnes of vital foodstuffs in Ukraine to help the population.

As part of the Winter Aid Action Plan, Switzerland also supported projects for the urgent repair of destroyed civilian infrastructure (e.g. emergency repairs in the energy, road and health sectors). Various Swiss Humanitarian Aid projects were able to start in areas where development cooperation was already active and strong partnerships existed.

Since February 2022, more than 70 SHA specialists have been deployed in Ukraine and Moldova to reinforce Swiss representations in both countries and support humanitarian organisations on the ground (ICRC, UN, NGOs).

Development cooperation

Switzerland has been carrying out international cooperation work in Ukraine since the 1990s. Its current activities are based on its 2020–23 cooperation programme and include the following key areas: 

  • strengthening democratic institutions
  • improving health (improving basic services)
  • Sustainable urban development (e.g. energy efficiency, sustainable mobility)
  • strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (e.g. agricultural SMEs, access to financial services).

These work is proving to be highly relevant and will continue to evolve and adapt as necessary. In the area of development cooperation, for example, a project for war trauma rehabilitation has been adjusted accordingly. Another project delivers chemicals and hygiene products for milk production to different regions, which should enable the dairy sector to survive financially.   

 Ukraine (International cooperation)

Financial assistance and multilateral support

In providing financial assistance, Switzerland makes use of instruments of international organisations such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which have set up funds to pool the contributions of various countries to Ukraine. 
As tax revenues in Ukraine have collapsed due to the war, the World Bank's Peace Fund ensures that Ukraine's state budget can be maintained and that, among other things, public sector employees – such as teachers and the police – can continue to receive a salary. Switzerland supported the fund with CHF 10 million in 2022 and plans to provide a further CHF 20 million in support to the Ukrainian state budget in 2023.

Through the Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund, Switzerland is helping to urgently repair destroyed energy infrastructure.

Through the EBRD, Switzerland's commitment is primarily directed towards the private sector in Ukraine. The Small Business Impact Fund is helping to improve framework conditions for SMEs. This is done through advisory services, strengthening supply chains, access to financing and the establishment of industrial parks. Through the IFC (International Finance Corporation), Switzerland is supporting a mixed financing instrument with CHF 10 million, through which loans can be granted to farmers and other businesses in the agricultural sector.

Through the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets, Switzerland invests in the Horizon Capital Growth Fund, which supports start-ups in the IT and export sectors.

Ukraine (SECO)

Peace, human rights and international humanitarian law

Without justice, lasting peace will not return to Ukraine. Switzerland therefore supports mechanisms and processes for the prosecution of crimes under international law, including war crimes and the crime of aggression. For example, Switzerland, along with 42 other states, referred the situation in Ukraine to the International Criminal Court. This was the prerequisite for the ICC prosecutor to start the investigation immediately.

However, given the scale of crimes related to Russia's military aggression, it will be impossible to prosecute all cases. Switzerland is therefore supporting Ukraine in adding further mechanisms and activities to address criminal accountability. In this respect, Switzerland is for example supporting the Ukrainian authorities in the search for and identification of missing persons. Humanitarian demining activities are also being supported to enable the rapid return of civilians to their homes and property. In addition, Switzerland is providing support to investigative mechanisms of the OSCE and the UN.

International humanitarian law

Human Rights Diplomacy


Good offices

Switzerland offered its good offices to both parties at the beginning of the war, including the following:

  • serving as host for talks and meetings. To this end, it offers an established platform in International Geneva. As the European headquarters of the UN, Geneva offers considerable added value for peace processes, bringing together in one place continuity, expertise, infrastructure and the relevant actors;.
  • providing substantial support and contributing expertise to possible negotiations;
  • protecting power mandates. Ukraine requested that Switzerland assume a protecting power mandate for it in Russia. For the protecting power mandate to come into force, Russia would have to give its consent. As set out in the Vienna Convention, protecting power mandates require the consent of all three participating states. If Russia agrees, Switzerland will be able primarily to provide consular services for Ukrainians in Russia via an interest section within the Swiss embassy in Moscow.

Good offices

Recovery process

At the beginning of July 2022, the then president of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, and the Ukrainian prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, brought all major partners (EU, international organisations) to the table for the first time in order to advance the political process of Ukraine's recovery. The Lugano Declaration proposed the political framework, noting that Ukraine was responsible for steering the process, but that reforms must continue in parallel. The Lugano Principles, which are contained within the Lugano Declaration, list common benchmarks for the future. At the conference in Lugano, 59 states and organisations were represented by delegations.

The Lugano Principles were taken up at the conferences in Berlin (October 2022) and Paris (December 2022), each of which focused on supporting Ukraine and continuing the recovery process. Switzerland will actively participate in the next Ukraine Recovery Conference, which will take place in London in June 2023.

Dossier URC2022

Support for future measures

Within the framework of the next IC strategy period 2025–28, the Federal Council has reserved funding of around CHF 1.5 billion for Ukraine. The amount comprises 5–10% of the total IC budget, which will be allocated to support actions (humanitarian aid and development cooperation) in favour of Ukraine and the surrounding region, plus an additional contingency fund of around CHF 650 million in this strategy period for reconstruction in Ukraine. 

Together with the approximately CHF 300 million allocated for 2023–24, this brings the estimated total to around CHF 1.8 billion.

International organisations

Since the start of Russia's military aggression, the situation in Ukraine has also been repeatedly discussed in various organisations. The UN Security Council, for example, has regularly debated the situation in Ukraine.

In the UN General Assembly and, since the beginning of 2023, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Switzerland has strongly condemned the military aggression in its statements on Ukraine and called for compliance with international law and the protection of the civilian population.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva – also with the support of Switzerland – has set up a commission of inquiry to gather information on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in connection with the conflict. 
Switzerland has also taken a stand each time the situation in Ukraine has been discussed at the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

Switzerland/UN Security Council – News overview


"It is essential in the medium term to bring everyone to the table"

Council of Europe

"It was a major shock but it hasn't weakened the Council of Europe, it has made it stronger"

Science and preservation of cultural property

A credit of CHF 9 million for scientific solidarity in favour of Ukrainian researchers in Switzerland has been set up via the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

The Swiss government has been working to protect Ukraine's rich cultural heritage by funding projects run by Swiss civil society actors and by providing financial support to international organisations such as UNESCO and the OSCE. In order to prevent the destruction or illegal transfer of Ukrainian cultural property, funds have been allocated to increase border controls and to establish an online platform to facilitate the exchange of information between countries.

Protective and packaging materials that are no longer available in Ukraine have been delivered to over 50 museums in the Odesa and Kharkiv regions. In addition, several unique works from the collection of the National Art Museum in Kyiv have been brought to Switzerland for conservation and public exhibition. They have been on display at the Kunstmuseum Basel since December 2022. A collection of books in Ukrainian has been built up in public libraries in Switzerland with financial support from the Swiss government.

War in Ukraine: Measures for researchers (Swiss National Science Foundation)


On 28 February 2022, the Federal Council decided that Switzerland would adopt EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus, thus strengthening their effect. Switzerland also applied the EU's subsequent sanctions packages within a very short period of time.

The sanctions include targeted measures against over 1,450 individuals and 206 organisations (freezing of assets and travel bans), numerous measures in the financial sector, trade bans on certain goods, and a ban on providing certain services to the Russian government or Russian companies. In addition, Switzerland participates in the price caps on Russian crude oil and petroleum products. Switzerland ensures that sanctions contain exemptions so as not to hinder humanitarian activities.

Switzerland's adoption of EU sanctions does not alter its neutrality in any way. Switzerland continues to fully uphold its neutrality in the strict sense of the term, i.e. the law of neutrality. It does not favour any warring party militarily. However, the Federal Council used the leeway allowed by its neutrality policy in deciding to adopt the EU's sanctions against Russia, taking into account the fact that Russia's military aggression against Ukraine is a serious violation of the most fundamental norms of international law. 

Full, effective implementation of the sanctions imposed is a priority for the Federal Council. Cooperation between Switzerland and its international partners functions smoothly in this area at the technical level, with those responsible in the Federal Administration exchanging information with sanctioning authorities from various countries on a daily basis. The exchange of information is possible under the Embargo Act and is actively practised by the Swiss authorities. Switzerland is determined to continue its good cooperation with partner countries in a constructive manner, based on shared values and objectives, and to intensify it where necessary.

Measures related to the situation in Ukraine (SECO) (fr)

Questions and answers on Switzerland's neutrality


In March 2022, the Federal Council decided initially to activate protection status S, which grants asylum seekers from Ukraine a right of residence without having to go through the usual asylum procedure.By the end of April 2023, Switzerland had granted protection status S to more than 79,000 people from Ukraine, of which more than 65,600 had active S status at the end of April 2023.

Within the framework of the Moldova Support Platform, Switzerland has also agreed to take in 500 Ukrainian refugees who are currently in Moldova. Furthermore, Switzerland has taken in civilians from Ukraine for treatment of acute physical illnesses. In addition, other particularly vulnerable groups including orphans and foster children have found refuge in Switzerland.

Information on the Ukraine crisis (SEM)

Measures and financial amounts between Feb 24, 2022 and Feb 24, 2023





Art/Bereich der Beiträge

Beitrag (in Mio. CHF)






Nachtragskredit I (Soforthilfe)





Nachtragskredit II (Winterhilfe)





Programm IZA (DEZA) in der Ukraine





Beitrag an World Food Programme










URC2022 Lugano










Beiträge an Verwaltungskosten der Kantone





Unterstützungsprogramm für Personen mit Schutzstatus S





Rapid Response Fund des zweiten Schweizer Beitrags zur Verstärkung der humanitären Hilfe





Erhöhung der Bettenkapazität in Bundesasylzentren





Aufwendungen für Personal und Dolmetschende





2023: Sozialhilfe, Unterstützung Personen mit Status S





Rechtsvertretung im Asylverfahren





Aufwendungen für URC2022 Lugano





Finanzielle Hilfe zur Aufrechterhaltung der nicht-militärischen Funktionen des ukrainischen Staates, Unterstützung von Wirtschaftsreformen und KMU, Schadens- und Bedarfsanalyse





Programm IZA (SECO) in der Ukraine





Nachtragskredit II Winterhilfe





Unterstützung von Start-ups im Technologiebereich





Unterstützung für ukrainische Forschende





URC2022 Lugano










Material für medizinische Nothilfe





URC2022 Lugano





Schutz von Kulturgütern


Switzerland's commitment before 2022

Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, Switzerland and Ukraine have maintained good diplomatic relations in a variety of areas. The Confederation can therefore rely on a close network of contacts and partners when supporting Ukraine.

International cooperation

Following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the 2014 armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, Switzerland decided in 2015 to significantly increase its engagement in Ukraine. The international cooperation budget was almost doubled for the 2015-2018 cooperation strategy and has since been further expanded. In addition, the SDC's and SECO's engagement was strengthened by the Peace and Human Rights Division (then the Human Security Division) and the Confederation's humanitarian aid. In 2015, several convoys from Switzerland reached the separatist areas in eastern Ukraine, where they provided the population with chemicals for the treatment of drinking water and medicines. Switzerland was thus the first third country to deliver aid on this scale to both sides of the so-called line of contact. In total, Switzerland provided bilateral international cooperation worth CHF 250 million in Ukraine from 2014 to 2021, of which CHF 41.5 million was humanitarian aid.

Ukraine (International cooperation)

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Switzerland held the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014. In this capacity, it played a key role in the international efforts to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine. In view of the mass demonstrations in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities in the winter of 2013/14, which led to many civilian victims due to the harsh reaction of the security forces, the OSCE Permanent Council decided on 21 March to send a special civilian observation mission to Ukraine. From then on, this mission reported regularly on the security situation and other issues and also provided mediation support. Switzerland provided the Deputy Head of Mission, Alexander Hug (2014-18), for several years. In response to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the OSCE set up the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and - together with the Normandy Four (the heads of state and government of FR, DE, UA and RU) - defined the agreements as a basis for the further negotiation process at high-level negotiations in Minsk. The Special Envoy for Ukraine and the TKG appointed by the CH Chair, CH diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, was on site at the time. In the context of the TKG negotiations, Switzerland took on various key roles: in addition to Tagliavini, it provided other personnel, such as Heidi Grau as Special Envoy (2020-2021) and Toni Frisch as Coordinator of the TKG Humanitarian Working Group (2015-21). The crisis in and around Ukraine at the time exposed a deeper crisis in European security. As part of the OSCE Chairmanship in 2014, an expert panel was set up in close cooperation with Serbia (Chairmanship 2015) and Germany (Chairmanship 2016) with the mandate to develop a report and proposals (Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project).

Last update 30.05.2023


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