Switzerland to forego 'Swiss neutrality' and impose sanctions against Russia

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By stefan armitage

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Switzerland has announced that it will stand with Ukraine and impose sanctions against Russia - breaking its long reputation of remaining neutral amid international conflict.

As reported by CNN, Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said on Monday (February 28) that Switzerland will forgo its longstanding commitment to "Swiss neutrality" and opt to impose sanctions against Russia that are in-line with those adopted by the European Union.

Cassis said yesterday: "We are in an extraordinary situation where extraordinary measures could be decided."

Speaking following a meeting of the Swiss Federal Council, Cassis condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying:

"Russia's attack is an attack on freedom, an attack on democracy, an attack on the civil population, and an attack on the institutions of a free country. This cannot be accepted regarding international law, this cannot be accepted politically, and this cannot be accepted morally."

Cassis added that Swiss Federal Council had agreed to "fully adopt EU sanctions" against Russia, and even commented on how the move goes against the historic neutrality of the country: "It is an unparalleled action of Switzerland, who has always stayed neutral before."

Per History.com, Switzerland's reputation for remaining neutral dates all the way back to 1515, when the Swiss Confederacy decided to abandon its "expansionist policies" in favor of self-preservation and conflict aversion.

The nation maintained its impartial stance during the First World War - opting not to lend its military forces to either side.

Additionally, throughout World War II, Switzerland promised retaliation to an invasion, but continued to trade with Nazi Germany.

During Monday's address, Cassis said that he hopes that the sanctions would encourage Russia's Kremlin to "change its mind".

"To play into the hands of an aggressor is not neutral. Having signed the Geneva convention of human rights, we are bound to humanitarian order," he said.

Cassis added: "Other democracies shall be able to rely on Switzerland; those standing for international law shall be able to rely on Switzerland; states that uphold human rights shall be able to rely on Switzerland."

Like other nations, Switzerland will now freeze the assets of "listed persons" and introduce an entry ban for individuals highlighted by the EU’s packet of sanctions.

All flights from Russia will also be prohibited from entering Swiss airspace - with the exception of humanitarian flights, search flights, and emergency situations.

Switzerland's decision comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of committing a "war crime" following an alleged bombing of the city of Kharkiv. Zelensky says that since Thursday's initial invasion, there have been 56 missile strikes and 113 cruise missiles launched by Russia in Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly maintained that there have been no targets on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and that there is no evidence of civilian deaths, CNN reports.

If you would like to know how you can support the Ukrainian people at this time, click HERE to find a list of organizations and groups dedicated to helping those affected by this crisis.

Featured image credit: ITAR-TASS News Agency / Alamy

Switzerland to forego 'Swiss neutrality' and impose sanctions against Russia

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Switzerland has announced that it will stand with Ukraine and impose sanctions against Russia - breaking its long reputation of remaining neutral amid international conflict.

As reported by CNN, Swiss Federal President Ignazio Cassis said on Monday (February 28) that Switzerland will forgo its longstanding commitment to "Swiss neutrality" and opt to impose sanctions against Russia that are in-line with those adopted by the European Union.

Cassis said yesterday: "We are in an extraordinary situation where extraordinary measures could be decided."

Speaking following a meeting of the Swiss Federal Council, Cassis condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying:

"Russia's attack is an attack on freedom, an attack on democracy, an attack on the civil population, and an attack on the institutions of a free country. This cannot be accepted regarding international law, this cannot be accepted politically, and this cannot be accepted morally."

Cassis added that Swiss Federal Council had agreed to "fully adopt EU sanctions" against Russia, and even commented on how the move goes against the historic neutrality of the country: "It is an unparalleled action of Switzerland, who has always stayed neutral before."

Per History.com, Switzerland's reputation for remaining neutral dates all the way back to 1515, when the Swiss Confederacy decided to abandon its "expansionist policies" in favor of self-preservation and conflict aversion.

The nation maintained its impartial stance during the First World War - opting not to lend its military forces to either side.

Additionally, throughout World War II, Switzerland promised retaliation to an invasion, but continued to trade with Nazi Germany.

During Monday's address, Cassis said that he hopes that the sanctions would encourage Russia's Kremlin to "change its mind".

"To play into the hands of an aggressor is not neutral. Having signed the Geneva convention of human rights, we are bound to humanitarian order," he said.

Cassis added: "Other democracies shall be able to rely on Switzerland; those standing for international law shall be able to rely on Switzerland; states that uphold human rights shall be able to rely on Switzerland."

Like other nations, Switzerland will now freeze the assets of "listed persons" and introduce an entry ban for individuals highlighted by the EU’s packet of sanctions.

All flights from Russia will also be prohibited from entering Swiss airspace - with the exception of humanitarian flights, search flights, and emergency situations.

Switzerland's decision comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of committing a "war crime" following an alleged bombing of the city of Kharkiv. Zelensky says that since Thursday's initial invasion, there have been 56 missile strikes and 113 cruise missiles launched by Russia in Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly maintained that there have been no targets on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and that there is no evidence of civilian deaths, CNN reports.

If you would like to know how you can support the Ukrainian people at this time, click HERE to find a list of organizations and groups dedicated to helping those affected by this crisis.

Featured image credit: ITAR-TASS News Agency / Alamy