By Alexander Miller, consultant in international politics, for Eurasia Business News – March 24, 2022

Historic center of Berne, Switzerland. Photo credit : Pexel.

Switzerland has moved out of its historic neutrality to align with the European Union’s sanctions against Russia. The country has frozen billion euros of Russian assets, said a senior official from the Swiss Ministry of Economy today.

Switzerland has frozen the equivalent of 5.75 billion Swiss francs (6.1 billion euros) of Russian assets, in a response against the Russian military operation in Ukraine, started on February 24.

This amount includes funds and assets, such as real estate located in tourist regions of Switzerland, said Ambassador Erwin Bollinger, at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs during a press briefing in Bern.

This amount is likely to increase further.

The Russian-owned funds are blocked but not confiscated, the frozen assets remaining the property of the targeted person since there is no legal basis for confiscation in Switzerland, explained Erwin Bollinger.

Last week it was reported that the authorities of the Swiss canton of Berne blocked the possibility of selling or pledging luxurious real estate owned by the Russian oligarch Pyotr Aven, which was previously included in the sanctions lists of the EU and Switzerland. Aven is known for having led the Alfa Banking Group, which is Russia’s largest private sector bank.

On Monday, the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki asked Ignazio Cassis, the President of the Swiss Confederation since early January, to freeze and confiscate the property of Russian businessmen.

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