Switzerland says it is freezing Russian assets

GENEVA – Switzerland, a favorite destination for Russian oligarchs and their money, announced on Monday that it was freezing Russian financial assets, setting aside the deep tradition of neutrality to join the EU and increasing the number of countries seeking to impose fines. Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

After a meeting with the Swiss Federal Council, the President of Switzerland Ignacio Casis met with the President of Russia Vladimir V. Putin, Prime Minister Michael V. Michustin and Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov said his assets would be frozen immediately. All 367 people were admitted by the EU last week.

Switzerland has said it will break away from its usual policy of neutrality due to “Russia’s unprecedented military attack on a sovereign European state,” but has offered to help mediate the conflict. Apart from for humanitarian or diplomatic purposes, it has teamed up with European neighbors to close its airspace for Russian aircraft. But it said it would evaluate whether to join subsequent EU sanctions on a case-by-case basis.

He was due to travel to Geneva on Tuesday to address the United Nations Human Rights Council. Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva said on Twitter that Lavrov would no longer travel because the plane had been grounded.

Swiss National Bank data show that by 2020 Russian companies and individuals will have assets worth more than $ 11 billion in Swiss banks. As a hub for the global commodity trade, Switzerland offers a number of companies that trade in Russian oil and other commodities.

The decision came after thousands of anti-war protesters marched on the Swiss capital, Bern, over the weekend to condemn Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. Protesters chanted slogans calling for an end to “Putin’s war” and criticized the government’s cautious response at the outset of the crisis.

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Switzerland has a reputation for neutrality, which has established Geneva as the home of the United Nations and the host of peace talks in many conflicts, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Recently, President Biden and Mr.

He said that if the EU sanctions were followed automatically, the credibility of the alpine country as a neutral diplomatic mediator would be compromised. Cassis expressed concern. Initially, Switzerland last week said it would implement travel bans against Russians on the EU sanctions list and stop Swiss banks from accepting new Russian money – but cut off access to individuals’ bank accounts.

Since then, pictures of bloody Ukrainian citizens and The flats damaged by the shelling provoked public outrage against Russia, and Switzerland also accepted the harsh tone. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law. Kassis told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.

“There is no provocation to justify such an intervention,” he said.

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