Direct democracy Switzerland: How To
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]


Response to sanctions against Russia criticised

Neutral Switzerland’s response to pressure to apply sanctions to Russia has attracted criticism from abroad. It’s an issue made more complicated by its current role as chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Estonia’s president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, accused Switzerland of acting in its own self-interest. In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, he said: "Switzerland must live with the criticism that it has only dispensed with its own sanctions to gain an advantage for its banking sector".

The Swiss have extended measures to make sure they are not used as a way to sidestep sanctions put in place by the European Union (EU), but, as a global commodity trading and private banking hub popular with Russia’s wealthy elite, they have not introduced specific restrictions against Russia as a whole in response to the country’s actions in Ukraine.

The alpine nation is also under pressure to protect its neutral position when dealing with Russia, due to its role as a mediator during Switzerland’s chairmanship of the OSCE.

Non-EU member Switzerland has however already blacklisted a number of Russian officials and organisations from doing business, primarily with Swiss financial institutions.

Hendrik Ilves commented further that, "The concept of neutrality is for me as empty today as ever before", referencing Sweden and Ireland as two neutral countries  who have supported the sanctions. Both are also members of the EU.

Cancelled trip

The Swiss defence minister Ueli Maurer has called off a visit to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergej Schoigu.

The defence ministry confirmed the cancellation, citing “scheduling difficulties” on both sides. The meeting, which was to be held in Moscow, was originally planned for the start of April, and was then initially postponed after the crisis in Ukraine developed. and agencies

It is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific SWI content on the website of the party requesting the content or the website of a third party. The framing of content from SWI is only allowed if it is unchanged, without advertising.

Articles can be copied and used if these guidelines are followed:

The article can only be used if it clearly mentions “[author],” For any further use, please send an email to: The editorial content on SWI adheres to the guidelines, rights and duties specified by the Swiss Press Council. If content not adhering to those outlined by the Press Council are found on third-party website displaying SWI content, SWI can demand that all SWI content be removed from the corresponding pages.