The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Which Swiss companies won’t pull out of Russia

  • By Paige Baschuk
  • 3 June 2022

Swiss border patrol agents found an unusual item, a bigger military budget was approved, and more in our roundup of Swiss news from May 31 – June 3.

Which Swiss companies won’t pull out of Russia

Nestle continues to operate in Russia despite outspoken protests and a boycotting of their products across Switzerland.

Swiss companies leaving Russia

Writing in SWI swissinfo.ch this week, Federico Franchini recounts how 20 major Swiss companies in Russia have responded to the invasion of Ukraine – as there is “no ethical justification” for staying in Russia. Swiss investments in Russia total about 28 billion CHF, or 2% of the total amount held abroad by Swiss companies. Moreover, Swiss companies employ about 40,000 Russians. While companies like Lindt Chocolate suspended operations immediately, others, like Nestlé and SWISS KRONO are continuing to operate. Still others are “buying time” with marketing ploys or small scale-backs. Read more.

Switzerland approves bigger military budget, F-35A fights jets

The Swiss parliament this week approved increasing spending from 5.6 billion CHF to 7 billion CHF by 2030, or to 1% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). On Thursday Defense Minister Viola Amherd said that the budget increase would help the armed forces to “close gaps in capabilities faster than previously foreseen” and that a portion will be given to a new cyber defense team. Left-wing officials voted against the hike, citing that it would contribute to shortfalls in health care spending and social services. Supporters of the increase say that the money is vital amid concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The money will also go to the purchase of new F-35A fighter jets from U.S. firm Lockheed Martin – Swiss voters barely passed the 6 billion CHF in spending for the jets in 2020. Read more.

Switzerland: Lots Of Guns, But No Mass Shootings

Swiss driver arrested over Japanese samurai sword

Swiss customs officers announced this week that they had recovered a 700-year-old Japanese samurai sword in a car near Zurich. The katana sword, made around 1353, is worth about 660,000 CHF. The unregistered sword, along with a valuable antique book, were recovered during a routine border check on the Swiss-German border. After a short investigation, the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security determined the driver was not at fault – his employer had asked him to transport the items. The driver still faces up to 800,000 CHF in fines for illegal importation. Officials say the employer has been fined 6,000 CHF, because owning the sword violates Swiss laws aimed at preserving cultural heritage. Read more.

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