On 28 February 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced that the neutral nation would adopt the packages of sanctions against Russia imposed by the EU on 23 and 25 February 2022 in view of Russia’s continuing military intervention in Ukraine.
The assets of the individuals and companies listed are frozen with immediate effect, said the federal government. Financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are also to be implemented with immediate effect, it said.
The Federal Council said that Switzerland was reaffirming its solidarity with Ukraine and its people and will be delivering relief supplies for people who have fled to Poland.
Switzerland will implement the sanctions, primarily goods and financial sanctions, in coordination with the EU. The assets of the persons and companies listed in the EU sanctions agreement are frozen with immediate effect, wrote the government.
Switzerland is also implementing the financial sanctions imposed by the EU on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with immediate effect. In so doing, Switzerland is responding to the serious violations of international law for which these individuals are responsible, said Switzerland’s government. The ban on imports, exports and investments concerning Crimea and Sevastopol, which has been in place since 2014, has been extended to the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which are no longer under the control of the Ukrainian government.
The move is significant given Switzerland’s policy of neutrality. Swiss president Ignazio Cassis said that Switzerland had taken this significant step resolutely, reported RTS. To play along with an aggressor is not compatible with Swiss neutrality, said Cassis. 75 years after the second world war, this Russian attack on the European continent is an attack on sovereignty, democracy, civil society and liberty, he said. This attack is legally, politically and morally unacceptable. Cassis is also Switzerland’s foreign minister.
Entry rules and airspace closure
The Federal Council also decided to partially suspend the 2009 agreement on visa facilitation for Russian nationals. The Federal Council has also decided to impose entry bans against a number of individuals who have a connection to Switzerland and are close to the Russian president. Based on the Federal Constitution the Federal Council may adopt appropriate measures to safeguard the country’s interests or Switzerland’s external security, independence and neutrality.
In addition, Swiss airspace will be closed to all flights from Russia and to Russian aircraft. This ban started at 3pm on Monday. Flights for humanitarian, medical or diplomatic purposes are exempted.
In reaching these decisions, the Federal Council said it took Switzerland’s neutrality and peace policy considerations into account. Russia’s unprecedented military attack on a sovereign European country was the deciding factor in the Federal Council’s decision to change its previous stance on sanctions, it said.
The defence of peace and security and respect for international law are values that Switzerland, as a democratic country, shares with its European neighbours and supports.
The Federal Council said that it will examine each further package of sanctions imposed by the EU on a case-by-case basis.
Relief supplies for the people of Ukraine
Over the coming days Switzerland will deliver around 25 tonnes of relief supplies to the Polish capital Warsaw, part of a Swiss aid package of CHF 8 million. The package contains urgently needed medical supplies and medicines. Staff from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will accompany the aid shipment, said the government.