A sniper fighting on the front line in Ukraine is facing up to three years in prison if he returns home to Switzerland, it has emerged.
Avi Motola, 47, is a volunteer sniper with the Ukrainian army but Swiss nationals are forbidden from serving in foreign armies.
So if he returns home to Schaffhausen canton police could seize him and he could be jailed, reports local media.
Former aid worker Motala told Swiss media while on leave from the front last month: “My basic motivation was always the same: I don’t want to pack small children in plastic bags anymore.”
He added: “And if it’s just one less because of my work, it’s been worth it.”
Motola said that it only became apparent that he had a talent for working as a sniper after the war started and he travelled to Ukraine.
He is one of 20,000 international volunteers hailed as heroes when they spearheaded the international fight the Russian invasion.
But – it has emerged – Switzerland currently has seven criminal cases open against people who are fighting in Ukraine.
Motola is critical of the law, saying: “I think it shows a great deal of cowardice on the part of a state.
“Soldiers from Germany, France, Italy, the USA – all can return to their countries and they are thanked. Only I have to reckon with any kind of repression.”
Motola lived abroad before the war started and has a four-year-old son.
The Swiss sniper said: “I ask myself the question every day: What the hell am I doing here?
“But if everyone who had something to lose didn’t fight, then it would be over a long time ago.”
Motola went to Ukraine in the early stages of the war with the help of a foreign aid organisation and helped civilians flee the conflict areas.
Then he went to Kyiv for a few days and was planning on leaving when the Bucha atrocities emerged.
He decided to join up and now serves in a unit of volunteer fighters and carries out operations on the Eastern Front, in the Russian-occupied areas, according to local media.
He said: “A lot of people think that people like me come here to play war, to kill.”
Motola added: “But what matters to me is the civilians I can save. Ukrainians, especially in the countryside, are very kind and down-to-earth people.
“Being able to free them from the Russians – those were very moving missions.”