GENEVA — Switzerland, a favourite vacation spot for Russian oligarchs and their cash, introduced on Monday that it would freeze Russian monetary property within the nation, setting apart a deeply rooted custom of neutrality to affix the European Union and a rising variety of nations looking for to penalize Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.
After a gathering with the Swiss Federal Council, Switzerland’s president, Ignazio Cassis, mentioned that the nation would instantly freeze the property of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail V. Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, in addition to all 367 people sanctioned final week by the European Union.
Switzerland mentioned it was departing from its ordinary coverage of neutrality due to “the unprecedented military attack by Russia on a sovereign European state,” however expressed a willingness to assist mediate within the battle. It additionally joined European neighbors in closing its airspace to Russian plane, aside from humanitarian or diplomatic functions. But mentioned it would consider whether or not to affix in subsequent E.U. sanctions on a case-by-case foundation.
Mr. Lavrov, who was scheduled to be in Geneva on Tuesday to handle the United Nations Human Rights Council, will not make the journey due to the flight ban, Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva mentioned on Twitter.
Swiss nationwide financial institution knowledge confirmed that Russian corporations and people held property value greater than $11 billion in Swiss banks in 2020. As a hub for the worldwide commodities commerce, Switzerland additionally hosts quite a few corporations that commerce Russian oil and different commodities.
The choice got here amid mounting condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which noticed hundreds of antiwar protesters march in Bern, Switzerland’s capital, over the weekend. Demonstrators chanted for an finish to “Putin’s war” and criticized the federal government’s initially cautious response to the disaster.
Switzerland cherishes a popularity for neutrality that has established Geneva as a house to the United Nations and a number to peace talks in quite a few conflicts, together with the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Recently, Geneva was the venue for final yr’s summit between President Biden and Mr. Putin.
Mr. Cassis expressed concern that the Alpine nation’s credibility as a impartial diplomatic middleman would undergo if it routinely adopted swimsuit with E.U. sanctions. Initially, Switzerland mentioned final week that it would implement journey bans towards Russians on the E.U. sanctions listing and cease Swiss banks from accepting new Russian cash — however stopped wanting slicing off the people’ entry to their financial institution accounts.
Since then, photos of bloodied Ukrainian civilians and residences broken by shelling have fueled standard anger towards Russia, Switzerland has adopted a harder tone as nicely. Mr. Cassis informed the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday that Russia’s assault on Ukraine was a flagrant violation of worldwide regulation.
“There has been no provocation which could have justified such an intervention,” he mentioned.