Switzerland has announced that it will forego its commitment to “Swiss neutrality” in favor of adopting sanctions against Russia, Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said Monday, adding that Switzerland’s sanctions will be in line with those already adopted by the European Union.
“The Swiss Federal Council has decided today to fully adopt EU sanctions,” Cassis said during a news briefing. “It is an unparalleled action of Switzerland, who has always stayed neutral before.”
“Russia's attack is an attack on freedom, an attack on democracy, an attack on the civil population, and an attack on the institutions of a free country. This cannot be accepted regarding international law, this cannot be accepted politically, and this cannot be accepted morally,” Cassis added.
Speaking after an extraordinary meeting of the Swiss Federal Council, Cassis stressed that “in these dark days,” Switzerland stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and hopes that sanctions will encourage the Kremlin to “change its mind.”
“To play into the hands of an aggressor is not neutral. Having signed the Geneva convention of human rights, we are bound to humanitarian order,” Cassis said. “Other democracies shall be able to rely on Switzerland; those standing for international law shall be able to rely on Switzerland; states that uphold human rights shall be able to rely on Switzerland."
Switzerland will freeze the assets of “listed persons” and will also bring into force an entry ban for those highlighted by the EU’s packet of sanctions, according to the Swiss Federal President.
Cassis said that Switzerland was closing its airspace to all flights from Russia, including private jets, with the exception of humanitarian flights, search flights and emergency situations.
Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said entry ban will impact “oligarchs of Russian or Ukrainian nationality who are particularly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
“These are five persons with strong economic connections into Switzerland,” Keller-Sutter highlighted, but said because of privacy reasons, she was not naming those oligarchs.