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In Switzerland, thousands of demonstrators against the war in Ukraine

Thousands of people demonstrated in the Swiss capital Bern on Saturday, despite an unusual snowstorm for the season, to demand an end to Russia’s devastating war in Ukraine. They were about 10,000 to march according to the organizers, forming a forest of flags in the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine and the rainbow of the peace movement.

“I am Russian, I am against the war. Putin is a murderer”or “I am Russian, I support Ukraine”could be read on placards. “We are all Ukrainian civilians”read the banner held by a woman heading towards the seat of the Swiss government and parliament.

“We need everyone to be in solidarity with us”explains Hanna Perekhoda, Ukrainian student at the University of Lausanne and member of the Switzerland-Ukraine support committee. “Ukraine protects Europe, protects democracy and the world against the authoritarian dictatorship of Vladimir Putinshe told AFP. The Russian oligarchs have their money here in Switzerland, in Swiss banks, so Switzerland is a key place to stop this war. »

The purpose of the rally is to push Switzerland to actively engage in efforts to secure a ceasefire and a full withdrawal of Russian forces, organizers said. The demonstrators also demanded more support for Ukrainian refugees, new sanctions against Russia and a reduction in imports.

Switzerland is not part of the European Union and has a long tradition of neutrality. The country has nevertheless aligned itself with the sanctions decided by the EU against Russian personalities. The Alpine country said last month it had frozen the equivalent of 5.75 billion Swiss francs ($6.2 billion) in Russian assets since the start of the invasion. But kyiv has pressured Switzerland, prized by large Russian fortunes, to go further.

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