President Sommaruga visits Eastern Ukraine with President Zelenskyy

Press release, 23.07.2020

On Thursday, 23 July, President Simonetta Sommaruga travelled with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Eastern Ukraine. Finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in this region is one of Switzerland’s peace policy priorities. Switzerland is Ukraine’s fifth most important donor nation, providing development cooperation and humanitarian aid, and is also involved in the peace process, primarily through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In Stanytsia Luhanska, Ms Sommaruga and the Ukrainian president visited the site of road refurbishment work in the afternoon and inspected a crossing point on the contact line between the two sides in the conflict. Ms Sommaruga expressed her regret that the contact line divides families and friends and separates those who belong together. However, the five crossing points, through which one million people pass every month, remain places of hope, she said. She stressed Switzerland’s commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict and cited the contribution that the OSCE mission, supported by Switzerland, has made to rebuilding civilian infrastructure.

In the morning, the two presidents discussed the current situation in Sloviansk with local officials and specialists in humanitarian aid and development policy. They were also present as a Swiss humanitarian aid convoy delivered a consignment of drinking water treatment equipment. The Voda Donbasu water facility is among the largest of its kind in Europe and supplies almost four million people on both sides of the contact line with drinking water; it has received financial support from Switzerland since 2015.

The trip to Eastern Ukraine concluded the first bilateral presidential visit to the country by Switzerland. Its purpose was to acknowledge the extremely good cooperation between Switzerland and Ukraine, and to stress the enormous potential for even closer political, economic, scientific and cultural ties between the two countries.


Further information:

Switzerland and Ukraine: Bilateral relations
Dossier DETEC (in German)


Address for enquiries:

DETEC Information Service: Géraldine Eicher, 079 211 30 52


Publisher:

Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs