Written by Zulfick Farzan
28 Feb, 2022 | 9:35 pm
In a statement Monday, Switzerland’s federal council said it would adopt sanctions against Russia effective immediately. The measures, it said, would match those of the European Union, of which Switzerland is not a member.
The sanctions package targets various Russian companies and individuals, and involves freezing the personal assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The federal council said it would also close its airspace to all flights from Russia and “all movements of aircraft with Russian markings,” bar people close to Putin from entering Switzerland, and send relief supplies to Poland to help with settling Ukrainian refugees.
In view of Russia’s continuing military intervention in Ukraine, the Federal Council took the decision on 28 February to adopt the packages of sanctions imposed by the EU on 23 and 25 February. The assets of the individuals and companies listed are frozen with immediate effect; the financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are also to be implemented with immediate effect. Switzerland reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine and its people; it will be delivering relief supplies for people who have fled to Poland.
At its extraordinary meeting on 28 February, the Federal Council took the decision to adopt the EU sanctions against Russia and thus strengthen their impact. The Federal Council has instructed the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) to modify the existing ordinance based on the EU measures. Switzerland will implement the sanctions in coordination with the EU. These are primarily goods and financial sanctions. The assets of the persons and companies listed in the annex to the ordinance are frozen with immediate effect; the ban on entering into new business relationships remains in place.
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. 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.
Entry rules and airspace closure
The Federal Council has 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 (Art. 184 para. 3 Cst. and Art. 185 Cst.), the Federal Council may adopt appropriate measures to safeguard the country’s interests or Switzerland’s external security, independence and neutrality.
In addition – in line with airspace closures in other European countries – Swiss airspace will be closed to all flights from Russia and to all movements of aircraft with Russian markings from 3pm on Monday with the exception of flights for humanitarian, medical or diplomatic purposes.
Switzerland continues to offer its good offices
In reaching its decisions, the Federal Council took Switzerland’s neutrality and peace policy considerations into account. It reaffirmed Switzerland’s willingness to actively contribute to a solution to the conflict through its good offices. 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. 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. As before, Switzerland will examine each further package of sanctions imposed by the EU on a case-by-case basis.
Relief supplies for the people of Ukraine
Within the next few days, Switzerland will deliver around 25 tonnes of relief supplies to the Polish capital Warsaw. The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) is providing urgently needed medical supplies and medicines from the Armed Forces Pharmacy. The relief supplies are intended for the Ukrainian population in Ukraine and in neighbouring states. Staff from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will accompany the aid shipment.
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