Switzerland adopts wholesale EU sanctions against Russia

By | February 28, 2022

The Guardian reports:

Switzerland, a bastion of neutrality through two world wars, has decided to adopt wholesale swingeing EU sanctions against the Russian central bank, freezing as much as billions of dollars in assets and massively increasing the pressure on the Russian economy.

The government also announced it had banned five oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin from entering the country. Flights from Russia are being banned, although this will not apply to flights carrying diplomats.

Switzerland had until now adopted limited measures, including barring Swiss companies from taking on new business with three Russian oligarchs named by the EU as sanctions targets last week. Switzerland is obliged by law to adopt UN sanctions but has a choice over how it responds to EU measures.

It is not imposing a ban on commodity trading. Nearly 80% of Russian commodity trading takes place virtually via financial service centres in Switzerland. Russian energy and raw materials groups such as Gazprom and Russian state banks have major branches in Switzerland.

The new steps are qualitatively different to anything Switzerland has done previously to shackle Russia, partly because the measures adopted by the EU are so sweeping. [Continue reading…]