German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht sent a letter to her Swiss counterpart Viola Amherd, with a request to allow shipments of 35mm ammunition for German-made Gepard anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, German newspaper Spiegel reported on Oct. 26.
The publication notes that Switzerland has previously refused to issue re-export permits for ammunition for Gepard anti-aircraft guns, manufactured by Oerlikon-Bührle in Zurich. Switzerland cited its long-standing commitment to remain neutral in foreign conflicts.
In her letter, Lambrecht noted that Gepard systems in Ukraine are mainly used to protect critical infrastructure, in particular the southern seaports, which are crucial for exports of Ukrainian grain.
“Given the worldwide humanitarian consequences of disruptions in grain supplies, Germany and Switzerland must absolutely comply with (Ukraine’s) request for ammunition,” the German defense minister stressed.
Gepard is a German anti-aircraft self-propelled artillery system, manufactured by Krauss-Maffei in cooperation with other companies. It’s designed to protect armored vehicles and stationary targets from attacks from low-altitude airborne threats, and is particularly resilient to enemy electronic countermeasures.