The Federal Council of Switzerland Friday adopted the newest European Union (EU) sanctions against Russia and Belarus. While Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it has multiple bilateral treaties with the bloc. The EU’s sixth package of sanctions includes an oil embargo, which prompted the Federal Council to commission a study of the economic consequences of imposing the oil embargo.
The sanctions against persons and entities mirror existing EU sanctions covering military personnel accused of atrocities in Bucha and Mariupol. They also include several individuals with close financial ties to the Kremlin. One notable addition is Aleksandra Melnichenko, who was sanctioned shortly after her husband, Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, transferred his firm’s assets to her. In a bombshell investigation, Reuters found that Andrey moved Eurochem and SUEK, two of the largest coal and fertilizer companies in the world, into his wife’s name a day before he was sanctioned, in an attempt to protect his assets.
The new sanctions also include Sberbank, one of Russia’s largest banks, thus preventing Sberbank from being able to access the SWIFT transaction system in Switzerland. SWIFT is a global financial messaging service which allows banks to communicate throughout financial transactions across the globe. It is one of the most commonly used of these services. SWIFT has announced its intent to comply with sanctions.