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Switzerland slaps more sanctions on Russia

The Swiss government did not ban Russian media as has the European Union. Keystone / Mikhail Klimentyev

The Swiss government on Friday adopted additional sanctions against Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine but did not ban the Russian state TV channels Sputnik and Russia Today like the European Union.

This content was published on March 28, 2022 - 11:59
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Switzerland joins the sanctions measures adopted by the European Union on March 9 and 15. It has already imposed a series of sanctions in line with the EU. The first sanctions were announced on February 28, four days after the invasion of Ukraine. They came after some hesitation in Bern over Switzerland's neutrality. 

The new measures come into force on Friday at 11 pm. Export of goods for the energy sector and related services are banned. So is the provision of loans or other financial resources to companies operating in the energy sector, as well as holdings in such companies. Steel imports from Russia are prohibited and the export to Russia of luxury goods and goods used for maritime navigation.

In the financial sector, transactions with certain state-owned enterprises and the provision of credit rating services are also banned. Certain exemptions from financial sanctions are allowed for humanitarian purposes in order to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations.

Sputnik and Russia Today

However, the Swiss government did not take up the measure adopted by the EU on March 1 concerning the broadcast of certain Russian media, in particular Sputnik and Russia Today. Bern said that although these channels are tools of propaganda and disinformation, it is convinced it is more effective to counteract them with facts than to ban them.

They therefore remain authorised by the Swiss federal authorities. However, in reality the Swiss cable TV operators Swisscom and Sunrise UPC had already decided at the beginning of March to no longer broadcast Russia Today TV programmes in Switzerland in view of the exceptional situation. Neither Swiss distributor offers Sputnik programmes.

The EU bans the broadcasting of Russian state media at all levels - including by cable, satellite, websites or applications. The German and French versions of Russia Today are also affected. The ban is implemented by the media regulators of the EU states.

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Update: This text was updated on March 28 concerning the decision by the Swiss cable TV operators Swisscom and Sunrise UPC to no longer broadcast Russia Today TV programmes from the beginning of March.

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