Ukraine, Skynex defense systems in Kiev: built in Rome by a German company

Rheinmetall is producing in Italy weapons developed and tested in Switzerland which will be delivered directly to the Ukrainians

L’German company Rheinmetall is producing in Italy weapons developed and tested in Switzerland, which will be transferred to Ukraine. In particular, two air defense systems worth 183 million francs, just under 182 million euros, will be delivered by the end of the year. “Rheinmetall will supply two Skynex systems to Ukraine by the end of 2023,” company spokesman Oliver Hoffmann told Keystone-ATS last Sunday, confirming an article in the Sunday Sonntagszeitung. The systems were developed by Rheinmetall Air Defence, which has its headquarters in Zurich.

The anti-aircraft defense systems in question they are manufactured on the company’s site in Rome, from where they will then be delivered directly to the Ukrainians. As known, Switzerland prohibits the export of war material towards Kiev, but not the transfer of know-how to other countries, as specified in article 7 of the ordinance on the matter.

Most European countries, including Italy, are on the list. This provision can therefore effectively circumvent the prohibition.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) confirmed to Keystone-ATS that Rheinmetall does not need a permit for this specific export. The sale from Italy of air defense systems developed in the Confederation is in fact legal under Swiss law.

According to the Sonntagszeitung, two requests to authorize the export of the same system were rejected in the past. Rheinmetall Air Defense in Zurich wanted to hand it over to Thailand in 2017 and to Egypt in 2018. Instead, the go-ahead was given for the sale to Qatar as part of the World Cup.