The Swiss embassy in Kyiv has been manned again for about a week. Ambassador Claude Wild (58) and a small team are back in the Ukrainian capital.
During her absence, a Swiss flag on the embassy building apparently caused unrest. Wild placed it on the roof shortly before he left for Moldova, as reported by the “Tages-Anzeiger”.
As a result, Wild thought, the building should be clearly recognizable from the air in the event of any Russian air raids. Apparently the opposite was the case.
Red or Swiss Cross?
Hospitals are not safe in this war. In Mariupol, hospitals and medical facilities were bombed. Apparently the Russians are targeting them. And the Red Cross emblem is regularly confused with the Swiss flag.
This was pointed out by a well-known Ukrainian blogger and journalist. On April 6, Ilya Novikov shared a photo of the large Swiss flag on the roof of the embassy on Twitter. He wrote to his 50,000 followers: “Stupid idea, Swiss embassy in Kyiv. You place your flag on your roof to mark your property. The Russian pilot will probably mistake it for another hospital.”
Two days later, Novikov posted a new photo of the embassy. The flag was rolled up. “Right decision,” wrote the blogger. “No one now has the illusion that the Russians respect the immunity of the Red Cross or diplomats.”
Flag remains removed
Accordingly, it was the ambassador himself who gave the order from Moldova to lower the flag on the roof. He saw the debate on Twitter and didn’t want to take any risks. It seemed, the ambassador is quoted as saying, that Russia was not respecting international conventions and was targeting hospitals.
The situation in Kyiv now seems comparatively stable. Restaurants are open again, but close at 8 p.m. due to the 11 p.m. curfew. Now and then an air alarm sounds. The flag on the Swiss embassy remains dismantled. (kes)