The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Switzerland sanctions Russia for a tenth time

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 3 April 2023
Switzerland has mirrored another round of EU sanctions on Russia. The government says it will financially assist affected Swiss businesses, but will the nation’s neutrality survive?
Switzerland sanctions Russia for a tenth time
Swiss protestors gathered in Bern last month to protest Russia’s war in Ukraine (Keystone SDA).

The Swiss government has implemented a tenth round of EU sanctions against Russia – this time preventing Russian expats from taking on high-level jobs in certain spheres, as well as restrictions on exports in the technological sphere.

Russian sanctions – The final nail in the coffin for Swiss neutrality

More on the latest bans

“In response to Russia’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine and its continued destabilizing actions that undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and security,” the EU and Switzerland has implemented more sanctions on Russia, the Federal Government said in a statement.

The sanctions, which just went into effect, concern 120 individuals and organizations.

The ban restricts various exports such as “dual-use goods” in the technological and defense sectors, including goods used in aviation and aerospace industries. Essentially, any export that is intended to strengthen Russian military, security and technology industries has been banned. The sanctions also prevent any Russian citizens from serving on governing bodies or as operators in businesses that relate to these goods.

Switzerland sanctions Russia for a tenth time
A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin lies on the ground near the local prison in Kherson, Ukraine (Keystone SDA).
Government: We can provide financial assistance

In the interest of “safeguarding Swiss economic interests,” the Swiss government will provide economic resources to businesses or Swiss nationals who have been negatively affected by the sanctions, the government iterated. These resources will be doled out on a case-by-case basis if “it is deemed necessary to protect Swiss interests,” according to the government.

The decision to offer financial assets is in direct response to two Swiss companies, Medmix and Sulzer, which specialize in high-precision delivery devices in that field. Without government assistance, the companies are likely to fall into the possession of two sanction Russian banks.

“As a result of U.S. sanctions imposed on Viktor Vekselberg in 2018 and Switzerland’s sanctioning of the two Russian banks in question, Tiwel Holding AG (majority shareholder of Sulzer and medmix) was no longer able to service its loan with the Russian banks – a loan for which Tiwel’s shares in Sulzer and medmix are held as collateral,” according to the Swiss government.

Switzerland sanctions Russia for a tenth time
Switzerland just decommissioned mothballed Leopard 2 tanks that will be sent to Germany (Keystone SDA).
Has Swiss neutrally been further compromised?

With each round of sanctions, Switzerland has become a bit more divided between those who support the measures and those who warn that the country is becoming less and less neutral.

Right-wing Parliament members say the sanctions have already violated Switzerland’s neutrality. The leader of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) Christoph Blocher has said that the Switzerland’s sanctions are “abetting the death of Russian boy soldiers.”

The backlash against Switzerland’s sanctions has also given rise to the Pro Schweiz/Pro Suisse movement that seeks to codify a more traditional definition of neutrality into Switzerland’s constitution. The group has already begun collecting signatures so that it can be put to a voter referendum.

Left-wing Swiss Parliament members say more can be done to support Ukraine amidst war. Liberal Party leader Thierry Burkart has urged Switzerland to join a NATO partnership. Social Democrats say the country could work more with the EU. And even the leader of the Center Party (Mitte) Gerhard Pfister says Switzerland should re-define its War Materials Act which prohibits the country from sending weapons and ammunition to countries that will then send it on to Ukraine. Pfister says this is prescient as “we too are being defended by Ukraine.”

Stay tuned.

This article may be freely shared and re-printed, provided that it prominently links back to the original article.

Most Read

Sunday, March 31 – Weekend Round-Up

31 March 2024
Sunday, March 31 – Weekend Round-Up
The top Swiss municipalities for cost of living, Switzerland's diplomatic approach on international issues, and the healthcare sector's challenges.

Huge Rain Falls in Certain Regions of Ticino

1 April 2024
Huge Rain Falls in Certain Regions of Ticino
Over 200 litres of rain and snow per square meter inundated Ticino and neighbouring areas during the Easter weekend.

The Park Hyatt Zurich Has Been Sold

4 April 2024
The Park Hyatt Zurich Has Been Sold
Trinity Investments, Oaktree Capital Management, and UBS Asset Management acquire Park Hyatt Zurich.

Swiss Francs Will Lose Value Against The Euro This Year – BOA Analysis Claims

1 April 2024
Swiss Francs Will Lose Value Against The Euro This Year – BOA Analysis Claims
US banks foresee the Swiss Franc reaching parity with the Euro this year, with further appreciation expected by 2025.

Stay in Touch!

Noteworthy

The Park Hyatt Zurich Has Been Sold
The Park Hyatt Zurich Has Been Sold
4 April 2024
Attempted Homicide in Ticino Has Almost Doubled
Attempted Homicide in Ticino Has Almost Doubled
4 April 2024