«The embassy ensures that the projects are implemented efficiently and correctly on the ground.»

Forty-nine employees work tirelessly at the Swiss embassy in Kyiv to implement and promote Swiss programmes to support the Ukrainian population. The overview on the map shows a wide range of projects, from humanitarian mine action and tracing missing persons to trams for public transport and the digitalisation of public services.

A house with a bright yellow painted façade and a Swiss flag in front of it.

The Swiss embassy building in Kiev. © FDFA

The war in Ukraine has changed many things – if not everything – in the country. The work of the Swiss embassy in Kyiv has also changed significantly in the last two years.

Ambassador Félix Baumann's team performs the typical diplomatic tasks of an embassy abroad (e.g. safeguarding Swiss interests in the political or economic sphere) and at the same time they take care of the implementation of the various projects of the international cooperation programme. Switzerland has been supporting Ukraine with local programmes for almost 30 years. Bilateral relations have been strengthened in recent years, through the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano in 2022, the meeting of the national security advisers as part of the Ukrainian peace formula in Davos at the beginning of 2024, and visits by the then Swiss presidents – Mr Cassis and Mr Berset respectively – to Ukraine. Switzerland has adapted its international cooperation programme over the past two years and stepped up urgently needed humanitarian aid. Besides that, peace and human rights projects are also an important part of the work of our embassy in Kyiv.

In the context of Russia's military aggression, Switzerland is committed to the following:

  • the protection of civilians
  • respect for human rights and international humanitarian law
  • combating impunity
  • dialogue
  • improving the standard of living of the population
  • more efficient public services
  • the promotion of sustainable economic growth

Interactive map

From Kiev via Sumy and Lviv to Kharkiv: an interactive map shows the federal government's support for the people affected by the war in Ukraine.
Click on the image to access the map.

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The embassy ensures that the projects are implemented efficiently and correctly on the ground.

Interview with Félix Baumann

Portrait of Félix Baumann, Swiss Ambassador to Ukraine.
Félix Baumann, Swiss Ambassador to Ukraine. © FDFA

Mr Baumann, you've been the Swiss ambassador to Ukraine since last summer. How would you describe the country you now live in?

It's a country that is fighting tirelessly for its survival, for its freedom and for its culture. A country where countless people have lost loved ones in the war, been robbed of their dreams for the future, had to flee their homes and abandon their towns and villages. The suffering is immense in many places. And the country is currently going through a difficult phase. Switzerland's reliability and long-term support are all the more appreciated, and we're providing specific support in areas where we can create added value.

The map shows an impressive range of activities where Switzerland is helping the Ukrainian population on the ground. Which of the current projects do you find the most exciting and why?

Our support takes various forms. In a liberated village in the Kherson region, I felt the immense gratitude of the people who, thanks to our help, have a warm living room again. Another example is the digital transformation, which Switzerland has been supporting since 2015. It is a key part of Ukraine's resilience. But even small contributions can make a big difference: I recently visited a bakery in Kharkiv that a young woman displaced from Izium was able to open thanks to a microloan and thus restart her professional life.

A house with a bright yellow painted façade and a Swiss flag in front of it.
The Swiss embassy building in Kiev. © FDFA

How would you describe the role of the embassy in concrete terms, and how exactly are you involved in implementing the programmes and relief distributions locally?

The embassy ensures that the projects are implemented efficiently and correctly on the ground. It evaluates whether certain projects still make sense or whether there are new needs elsewhere. We also maintain contacts with our partners, be they state authorities, representatives of Ukrainian civil society or international organisations such as the UN or the ICRC. Lastly, we communicate about Switzerland's activities in Ukraine.

After a brief temporary closure of the embassy in the spring of 2022, it has been open again continuously since May 2022. How are embassy operations different during a state of war? How does the war manifest itself in daily life in Kyiv?

Kyiv is relatively far away from the front line. But the volatility of the general situation does have an effect on our work. Every day is unpredictable. Will the air-raid siren go off today, for example. All of this leads to physical and mental fatigue among the staff. Our Ukrainian colleagues have been living in a country racked by war for ten years now. We have to take this burden into account. On the positive side, you get the feeling that you're able to make a small contribution to supporting Ukraine and its people.

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