Geneva: Ukraine wants Switzerland to represent its interests in Russia after the break-off of diplomatic relations, the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Bern announced on Thursday.
Negotiations for such a protecting power mandate have been concluded, dpa news agency quoted the Ministry as saying in response to a request.
“For the protecting power mandate to come into force, Russia still has to give its consent,” it said.
Whether this will happen, however, is questionable.
The Russian embassy in Bern wrote to the Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that the Swiss government was no longer neutral after it adopted the sanctions imposed on Moscow after it waged its ongoing war against Ukraine.
Russia is “not prepared to consider mediation offers from countries that have joined the anti-Russian sanctions in the negotiations with Ukraine”.
Switzerland has a long tradition of acting as a protecting power.
It first looked after the interests of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Baden in France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
As a protecting power, it is, for example, the point of contact for nationals who live in the other country but no longer have a home embassy there, if the home and host states have broken off relations.
If necessary, it can also deliver diplomatic dispatches and act as a mediator in negotiations.
Switzerland currently provides such services for several countries.