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Swiss hesitant to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

A Ukrainian serviceman checks the situation not far from the city of Gorlivka, Donetsk area, on Monday Keystone/Alisa Yakubovych

The Swiss government says it wants to ensure that Switzerland will not be misused as a place to get around sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union.

This content was published on February 23, 2022 - 18:39
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However, the government did not announce any concrete measures. In a statementExternal link published on Wednesday it said it was examining the situation closely and remained in contact with several countries to exchange intelligence.

“Switzerland may adopt compulsory measures to enforce sanctions adopted by the Untied Nations, the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] or Switzerland’s main trading partners,” the government said.

It added that possible punitive measures were aimed to ensure Russia’s compliance with international law, in particular respect for human rights.

The government condemned Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions earlier this week as a breach of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

It reiterated a commitment by the foreign ministry on Tuesday that Switzerland supports the efforts of the OSCE for a peaceful solution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

In 2014 neutral Switzerland didn’t adopt EU sanctions against Moscow for annexing Crimea, instead implementing its own measures designed to keep the country and its financial centre from being used as a place to dodge EU measures.

Protest

Also on Wednesday about a hundred people staged a protest outside the Russian embassy in the Swiss capital, Bern.

They called on Russia to withdraw its troops from eastern Ukraine and demanded that Switzerland join the sanctions against Russia.

The demonstration was organised by the pacifist Switzerland without an Army group and several left-wing parties.

The youth chapter of the Green Party accused the Swiss authorities of shirking their responsibilities in the crisis, notably about the offshore gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

A small group of protestors gathered outside the headquarters of the Russian company, Nord Stream 2, in the town of Zug earlier in the day, according to the Keystone-SDA news agency.

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