Ukraine wants Switzerland to represent its interests in Russia after the break-off of diplomatic relations.
Negotiations for such a protecting power mandate had been concluded, the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Bern announced on Thursday in response to a request.
“For the protecting power mandate to come into force, Russia still has to give its consent,’’ it said.
Whether this happened, however, remained questionable.
The Russian embassy in Bern wrote to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that the Swiss government was no longer neutral after it adopted the sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine.
“Russia is not prepared to consider mediation offers from countries that have joined the anti-Russian sanctions in the negotiations with Ukraine.’’
Switzerland had a long tradition of acting as a protecting power.
It first looked after the interests of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Baden in France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
As a protecting power, it was, for example, the point of contact for nationals who lived in the other country but no longer had a home embassy there, if the home and host states had broken off relations.
If necessary, it could also deliver diplomatic dispatches and act as a mediator in negotiations.
Switzerland currently provided such services for several countries.