Burkhalter set for Ukraine president’s inauguration

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who chairs European security body the OSCE, will attend the inauguration of Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko on Saturday, his office announced on Thursday.

Burkhalter set for Ukraine president's inauguration
Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko. Photo: Anatoliy Stepanov/AFP

With Switzerland at the helm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2014, the neutral nation has been at the forefront of efforts to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
Burkhalter, who holds the rotating post of Swiss leader this year, is also the Alpine country's foreign minister.
The Swiss government said Burkhalter also planned to hold political consultations with Poroshenko as well as attending his inauguration ceremony in Kiev on Saturday.
Western nations have accused Russia of piloting an insurgency in Ukraine in the wake of the February ouster of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych.
Moscow annexed Ukraine's strategic Black Sea province of Crimea in March, after a referendum organised by pro-Kremlin separatists backed joining Russia in a move rejected by the West.
Eastern Ukraine, where the population is mainly ethnic Russian, then plunged into violence as insurgents in a string of communities declared independence from Kiev, sparking a government offensive.
The showdown has taken East-West ties to their lowest ebb since the Cold War.

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Shareholder group urges Switzerland’s Nestle to halt all Russia business

Nestle must halt all its activities in Russia, the Actares shareholder organisation said Monday, ramping up the pressure after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky singled out the Swiss food giant.

Shareholder group urges Switzerland's Nestle to halt all Russia business

Nestle has suspended all its imports and exports to Russia, including Nespresso coffee pods and S.Pellegrino bottled water, but has maintained deliveries of vital products such as baby food.

In a speech live-streamed to a rally outside the Swiss federal parliament in Bern on Saturday, Zelensky urged Swiss companies to cease doing business in Russia, picking out Nestle, and condemned firms that carried on regardless despite the siege of Mariupol.

“Actares — shareholding for a more responsible economy — urges Nestle to consider President Zelensky’s call in the Federal Square to stop doing business with Russia!”, the group, one of Switzerland’s top shareholders’ associations, said in a statement.

Nestle insisted Sunday that it was not making any profits in Russia, winding down many of the firm’s activities in the country following the Kremlin-ordered invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on February 24.

READ MORE: Ukraine’s Zelensky blasts Swiss banks in address to Bern rally

“We have stopped all our investments there and have ceased all our advertising activities,” a spokeswoman told AFP. “We do not make any profit from our remaining operations in Russia.

“We are doing everything possible in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to help alleviate this humanitarian catastrophe.”

Several US multinationals have withdrawn from Russia, like the fast food chain McDonald’s and the beverage giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Nestle has been the subject of a call for a boycott circulating on social media networks.

On Monday, Zelensky called on European leaders to cease all trade with Russia in an effort to pressure Moscow to halt its nearly month-long military assault on Ukraine.