Swiss step up sanction measures

In July 2014, a local boy waves a Russian flag during the Russian Navy day parade in Sevastapol Keystone

Switzerland has banned all foreign investment in the Crimea and Sevastapol. These and further measures to prevent the circumventing of international sanctions against Russia will be in place from Friday evening.

This content was published on March 6, 2015 minutes and agencies

“This decision… extends the measures introduced following Switzerland’s non-recognition of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, an act which contravenes international law,” said a statement from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)External link.

“All foreign investment in the Crimea and Sevastopol is now prohibited. Service bans apply in the investment and tourism branches, and in some other economic sectors. The existing ban on the export of key goods to the Crimea and Sevastopol has been extended to include further articles. In addition, the measures have been made more precise to accord with adjustments made to the European Union sanctions.”

In addition, 28 names have been added to the existing list of individuals and businesses with whom financial intermediaries may no longer enter into new business relationships. Anyone in Switzerland who has existing business dealings with any of these entities must report this.

The Swiss government is reacting to the latest tightening of EU sanctions, which date from December 2014, plus the current situation in Ukraine, the statement said.

Switzerland has not imposed its own sanctions on Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis, but in April 2014 it promised not to become a place to circumvent sanctions imposed elsewhere. It stressed once again on Friday that “Swiss territory may not be used to circumvent EU sanctions”.

The statement said that Switzerland was continuing “to monitor the situation in Ukraine closely and reserves the right to introduce further measures”. It has already added to its original measures several times.

European Union latest

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Friday that the EU – of which Switzerland is not a member – was ready to step up sanctions against Russia if necessary, but its priority was to bolster a fragile ceasefire agreed in Minsk last month.

The EU has joined the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia but has found it increasingly difficult to agree on tougher measures as many member states rely heavily on Russia for energy. The truce has eased pressure for new sanctions, but the EU must decide soon whether to extend economic curbs on Russia that expire in July.

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