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Russia sanctions: Switzerland makes EU ‘partners’ list

The European Union formally considers Switzerland a partner country in the implementation of sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine.  

A Russian soldier firing in Ukraine
A Russian army soldier fires an anti-tank missile system toward Ukrainian position at an undisclosed location. Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

This was viewed as a welcome sign of appreciation in Bern—especially after the criticism of the G7 ambassadors over Switzerland’s slow pace freezing Russian assets.

“Switzerland has been added by the EU to the list of partner countries for sanctions against Russia,” wrote Swiss government spokesman André Simonazzi on Twitter External linklate Friday. “The Federal Council welcomes this decision as a further sign of the excellent cooperation in this area.”

The Alpine nation was formally added on June 23 to the list of countries that set export control measures that are largely equivalent to those adopted by the EU.

Brussels had contacted Bern and offered to discuss its inclusion on the list of partner countries. The Federal Council accepted after discussing the matter on May 24.

Russian oligarchs and assets

Many Russian oligarchs have homes or assets in Switzerland, which has a long history of financial secrecy and is also an important hub for global commodity trading.

  + Swiss traders’ links to murky world of Russian oil

But the war in Ukraine has shone a light on shortcomings of Swiss legislation that complicate efforts to find and freeze the assets of Russian individuals or entities sanctioned by the West.

Switzerland, for example, lacks a centralised public beneficial ownership register, which anti-money laundering experts consider an essential tool to unveil corporate structures that can be exploited to launder the proceeds of corruption, hide conflicts of interests and skirt sanctions.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR