Switzerland will renounce “Swiss neutrality” and adopt the same sanctions as the EU against Russia

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Swiss President Ignazio Cassis delivers a speech at the opening of a session of the UN Human Rights Council February 28 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Switzerland has announced that it will abandon its commitment to “Swiss neutrality” in favor of adopting sanctions against Russia, Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said on Monday, adding that Switzerland’s sanctions would be in line to those already adopted by the European Union.

“The Swiss Federal Council decided today to fully adopt the EU sanctions,” Cassis said during a press briefing. “This is an unprecedented action by Switzerland, which has always remained neutral before.”

“Russia’s attack is an attack on freedom, an attack on democracy, an attack on the civilian population and an attack on the institutions of a free country. It cannot be accepted under international law, it cannot be accepted politically and it 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 Ukrainian people and hopes that the sanctions will make the Kremlin “change its mind “.

“Playing the game of an aggressor is not neutral. Having signed the Geneva Convention on Human Rights, we are bound to the humanitarian order,” Cassis said. “Other democracies can count on Switzerland; those who defend international law can count on Switzerland; States that defend human rights can count on Switzerland.”

Switzerland will freeze the assets of “listed persons” and will also implement an entry ban for those targeted by the EU sanctions package, according to the Swiss Federal President.

Cassis said Switzerland was closing its airspace to all flights from Russia, including private jets, except for humanitarian flights, research flights and emergencies.

Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said the entry ban would affect “oligarchs of Russian or Ukrainian nationality who are particularly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin”.

“These are five people with strong economic ties to Switzerland,” Keller-Sutter pointed out, but said for confidentiality reasons she did not name these oligarchs.

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