The forum serves as a valuable platform for creating new business connections, exchanging experiences, and fostering Ukrainian-Swiss cooperation. This promotes the revitalization and sustained humanitarian and political support for Ukraine in Switzerland and beyond.
Switzerland has welcomed over 78,000 Ukrainian refugees through simplified procedures. Last July, the first conference on Ukraine's restoration was held in Lugano, in addition to other forms of humanitarian aid and diplomatic measures. Switzerland's representatives emphasized their unwavering support for a free and democratic Ukraine.
The Forum was inaugurated by Andrii Luzhnytskyi, President of the Ukrainian University of Applied Sciences, Iryna Venediktova, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Switzerland, Martin Candinas, President of the Swiss National Council, and Nick Gugger, Co-Chair of the Swiss-Ukrainian Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.
"The deliberate destruction of Ukraine's infrastructure, along with bombings, murders, torture, and robbery, is today's reality for Ukraine and Europe, stated Martin Candinas, President of the Swiss National Council. For my generation, peace and prosperity are the defining features of our history, and I speak not with pride, but with deep gratitude and humility. However, Russia's aggression against Ukraine painfully reminds us of the fragility of our peace and prosperity. In response to the horror and brutality of the Russian attack, Switzerland has re-evaluated its long-standing political neutrality and opted to support EU sanctions. We have taken a position in support of Ukraine to ensure we are never on the wrong side of history."
The focus of this meeting was on Switzerland's political neutrality during the second year of the full-scale war and the potential re-exportation of ammunition and weapons from countries that have purchased Swiss military materials.
Martin Candinas, Andrii Luzhnytsky
"Switzerland helps Ukraine, but we can offer not only humanitarian aid but also knowledge and expertise, for instance in investigating war crimes... And of course, re-exportation of weapons and ammunition," noted Christa Markwalder, a member of the Swiss Parliament and co-chair of the Swiss-Ukrainian Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, during her speech.
Moment of silence in honor of fallen heroes
The vision for the development of global geopolitical risks, the integrity of humanitarian security, the implementation of state legal reforms, and the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure during the hostilities in Ukraine were presented by:
- Christa Markwalder, a permanent forum participant and one of the main representatives of Ukrainian society in the Swiss Parliament, former president of the National Council, Swiss parliament member, and co-chair of the Swiss-Ukrainian inter-parliamentary friendship group.
- Nobel laureate Olexandra Matviychuk.
- Edward Lucas, Vice President of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), former editor and leading author of the British magazine "The Economist," and author of the bestseller "The New Cold War: How the Kremlin Threatens Russia and the West."
- Sebastian Pons, President EMEA region at FMC Corp.
- Irina Paliashvili, leading human rights defender and head of the IBA Rule of Law Forum.
- Natalia Popovich, public activist and international communications expert, founder of the Resilient Ukraine project www.weareukraine.info.
Oleh Pinchuk, Inna Geletyuk-Katiushchenko, Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia, the Ambassador of Ukraine in Switzerland Iryna Venedyktova, National Program Officer Dr. Olena Chernyzhenko
The speakers of the Ukrainian Forum analyzed the situation in Ukraine with a deep focus on global consequences, human security, geopolitical risks, disinformation, investigation of military crimes, legal and administrative reforms, as well as reconstruction after the war. The discussion between parliamentarians, representatives of Ukrainian diplomacy, and civil activists continued until late evening.
The emotional speech of Ukrainian MP David Arakhamia and the speech of the mayor of Trostianets, Yuriy Bova, which impressed Swiss parliamentarians with stories of the Russian occupation of the city and parts of Sumy Oblast, became the concluding moments of the forum.
Nataliya Kontsur, Pawlo Dlaboha responsible for cultural projects Ukrainian Society in Switzerland
In his speech, Andriy Luzhnytsky emphasized the important role of international solidarity in supporting the Ukrainian people, stating that "Today our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are forced to lay down their souls and bodies for their freedom. This is the quintessence of being Ukrainian." He thanked all the benefactors of the Ukrainian Society in Switzerland, the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, the Swiss Ambassador in Ukraine Claude Wild, the Embassy of Ukraine in Switzerland, and the Ukrainian Ambassador in Switzerland Iryna Venediktova for their support in organizing the forum.
The next Ukrainian Forum in Switzerland is planned for September 2023.
Photo: Enis Yücel