Moscow hoped Switzerland would remain ‘haven for Russian business’

Cleaning up after Russian shelling hit a block of flats in Nikopol, Ukraine, on Monday Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Russia “really hadn’t anticipated” Switzerland aligning itself with EU sanctions in March, according to a former Russian diplomat to the UN in Geneva.

This content was published on August 17, 2022 - 09:25

The Russians had hoped Switzerland would remain a “haven for Russian business – legal or not”, Boris Bondarev said in an interviewExternal link with Le Temps newspaper on Wednesday. “It was very naive, but that’s really how it happened.”

Bondarev resigned in May in protest at Russia’s war in Ukraine. He is currently in Switzerland.

He also said Russia’s strategy in the war was to wait for the West to get tired. “Moscow will ensure that Europe freezes this winter. To the point where public opinion puts pressure on politicians to demand that Ukraine negotiate with Russia,” he said.

Russia classified Switzerland as an unfriendly country after the adoption of EU sanctions. The Russian embassy has repeatedly posted negative tweets about Switzerland.

Last week Russia rejected a protecting power mandate agreed by Switzerland and Ukraine, saying Switzerland was no longer neutral.

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